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SPECIAL REPORT


ton, Michigan. “We have nine districts that we drive for, although one of those is all-virtual right now. I’ve only had one driver who decided to wait and see what hap- pens. That driver might be back in January, but everyone else was more than ready to get back to work and see the kids. Since we’re transporting fewer students, I’m fully staffed.” Morris added that because of a reduced ridership, she’s


down two routes and has re-assigned those two drivers. Besides helping with some cleaning duties, they are also working as bus aides. “After a six-month break, we have some routes which have students who may need a reminder of how to behave on the bus,” she explained. Like Berner in Ithaca, New York, Morris said she is also getting new drivers in the door by taking advantage of special events. At the town’s Friday Night Live events, which occur throughout July, the main street is closed for a street fair that her operation uses to recruit new drivers. “Of course, these events didn’t happen this year, but we


have gotten a few drivers with our recruiting,” Morris said. “The chance to educate the general public has been bene- ficial as well. Those of us who drive for a living know what


the job entails and realize that not everyone can to this job.” Morris uses large signs to explain the learning and


background checking involved with becoming a driver. The district’s booth offers fair goers the opportunity to play school bus safety games. “Not only does it help recruit drivers, but also helps the general public understand all of the responsibility their children’s school bus driver has,” she said. “I think our community is coming to understand that the drivers de- serve respect for the training they receive and the huge responsibility they have.” As for adapting to the new normal presented by


COVID-19, Morris said her current drivers have been respectful of the new rules. “I really give my drivers credit.” Morris commented.


“We are all just rolling with these changes, and they are always ready to do whatever it takes. We kept them up to date on changes in our meetings, but since this all start- ed their attitude has always been, ‘What do we have to do to keep our kids in school?’ This situation has really been an opportunity for transportation departments to shine and say, ‘We got this!’” ●


TRANSPORTING STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES AND SPECIAL NEEDS


NOV. 9 – 11, 2020 VIRTUAL CONFERENCE AND TRADE SHOW


Keep up to date at tsdconference.com


18 School Transportation News • NOVEMBER 2020


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