Suffolk, Va. – Suffolk Public Schools has announced that a “late bus option” has been added to the School Messenger Rapid Notification System, allowing officials to send an automated message when a bus is running behind schedule.
Parents will need to sign into the School Messenger System to change the phone number where they can be reached, and if they would like to receive a text message.
These automated phone calls began on Wednesday, September 4, 2013, to inform parents when their child’s bus is running behind schedule. Administrators hope that this communication effort will reduce parents’ worry when the bus has not yet picked up their child in the morning or when their child is not home on time, according to Bethanne Bradshaw, Public Information Officer for Suffolk Public Schools.
The Transportation Department worked until 7 p.m. Tuesday, September 3, to correct routes and bus stops, based on concerns communicated by parents via telephone, email, and the web-based Bus Concern form. About 125 families who submitted concerns were contacted Tuesday evening to explain how situations were going to be resolved. Those changes should start no later than Thursday morning. The department will continue to work out concerns and update routes as needed, Bradshaw says.
On Tuesday, many afternoon bus schedules were delayed on the first day of school because middle and high school buses were late leaving those schools. This caused a trickle down effect, impacting elementary bus schedules. Those secondary administrators were working to ensure all students were on their assigned bus, which took more time than anticipated. Officials expect today’s dismissal to run closer to schedule.
Parents are encouraged to use the Online Bus Concerns Form or to email the school system through the Contact Us button on the website. Phone lines into the Transportation Department are receiving heavy volume, officials say, and putting information in writing would expedite response time.