Transportation


Transportation Guidelines

Introduction
The safe and efficient transportation of all eligible school-aged children in Caroline County, on a regular basis, requires the cooperation of all persons involved. This includes the students, parents, bus drivers, principals and the community. In addition, school bus cameras have been installed as a proactive step to improve discipline and driving safety. This publication highlights the responsibilities of each party and also presents the rules to be followed while riding on the school bus. The goal of all concerned must be the safe and efficient transportation of our children.

Robert F. Jester
- Supervisor of Transportation

 

Students Eligible to Ride the School Bus

Caroline County Public Schools (CCPS) provides school bus transportation for:

  • Elementary school students living more than 1.0 mile of walking distance from school.
  • Middle and high school students living more than 1.5 miles of walking distance from school.
  • Morning and afternoon Pre-K students at mid-day dismissal and start times. 
  • Students who face hazardous walking conditions regardless of distance from school (multilane highways, construction areas, rural high-speed roads without safe walking areas, etc.) as determined by the CCPS Department of Transportation. 
  • Eligible students in special education, vocational, or other education programs that are not offered at the student’s school of residence.  

 

The Student's Responsibilities
Riding the school bus is a privilege. A student who does not respect the rights of others and endangers either his/her life and/or the lives of others, will be suspended from riding the bus. In addition, a student will be disciplined, including the revocation of bus riding privileges, for acts committed away from school if it can be shown that the good order and safe transportation of students may be affected by those actions. 

 

Students awaiting arrival of the school bus:

  • Shall not stand or play on the roadway.
  • Shall not cross the highway until the bus arrives and has come to a complete stop. Before crossing, they should look both ways for traffic and then pass at least ten feet in front of the bus. All crossings should be made only after the driver of the bus signals them to do so. No student should direct traffic.
  • Shall remain in the line at least five feet from the stopped bus and should move toward the bus only after the door is open.
  • Shall be at the designated stop at least five minutes before the scheduled arrival of the bus and should board with the least possible delay.
  • Shall only ride the assigned bus.

Students boarding the bus:

  • Shall obey the driver's instructions at all times.
  • Shall be seated immediately and shall remain seated at all times while the bus is in motion.
  • Shall not extend arms or hands out of the bus windows.
  • Shall not throw, toss or drop any object out of the bus windows.
  • Shall not eat or drink on the bus.
  • Shall keep aisles clear of lunch boxes, musical instruments, books, etc.
  • Shall conduct themselves in an acceptable manner at all times. No smoking (including e-pens or vapor pens), vulgarity, boisterous or other improper conduct will be permitted.
  • Shall sit in their assigned seat.
  • Shall not deliberately deface or damage any part of the bus.
  • Shall assist in keeping the bus clean of personal trash.
  • Shall obey the designated persons authorized to direct other pupils during bus evacuation or in an emergency.
  • Shall refrain from physical contact with other students.
  • Shall not bully, harass or otherwise intimidate or threaten any other student or the driver.
  • Shall keep cell phones turned off.  Taking pictures on the bus, or sharing photos or electronic images or information about other students while on the bus is prohibited.  
  • Shall keep their voice volume to a conversation level.

Students leaving the bus:

  • Shall, if necessary to cross the highway, look for traffic in both directions, pass at least ten feet in front of the bus, and only when the bus driver has signaled them to do so. No student shall cross behind the bus or walk alongside or within five feet of the side of the bus. 
  • Shall not exit the bus at any other place but at the regular stop without a written request from the student's parent or guardian, which has also been approved by written consent of the principal.
  • Shall not stand in the roadway to direct traffic or to assist other pupils to cross the road.
  • Shall not throw objects at the bus.
  • Shall promptly move away from the bus.

 

The Parent's Responsibilities
To ensure a pleasant, safe ride to and from school for your child, we ask your cooperation in the following:

  • Explain the above rules and regulations to your child and make sure he/she understands them.
  • Get to know your child's bus driver. It is unsafe for drivers to hold up traffic for discussions with parents at the bus stop.  However, if you need to speak to the driver, you may contact the Transportation Office and we will have the driver call you as soon as possible. No one other than assigned students, appropriate school employees, or emergency personnel are allowed on the school bus at any time. 
  • Be sure your child is at the bus stop five (5) minutes before the scheduled time.
  • Have your child dressed properly for cold and rainy weather.
  • Be sure your child waits a safe distance from the roadway and refrains from horseplay.
  • Encourage your child to respect private property while waiting for the bus.
  • Insist on good behavior and cooperation on the part of your child so the bus driver can concentrate on driving the bus.
  • If possible, signal or notify the driver when your child will not be riding the bus.
  • Cooperate with the school authorities and with the school bus driver in promoting efficient service.
  • Make suggestions in writing to the Supervisor of Transportation for the improvement of public school transportation.
  • Parents will be responsible for providing transportation to and from school when bus riding privileges have been suspended.  Students will not be allowed to ride a different bus while on bus suspension. 
  • Practice the bus routines before the first day of school.
  • Parents are encouraged to pay a visit to the designated stop.
  • Animals are not permitted on the school bus.
  • Students may carry items required for school on the bus. Those items must be held in their laps or put between their feet. In addition, those items may not limit the seating space of others, be put in the aisle or in the driver's compartment .
  • Students must ride their assigned bus. Each student can be assigned one bus for transportation to school and one bus for transportation from school. As some of our buses are nearing capacity, students will not be permitted to “hop buses”, meaning that the student must ride the assigned bus consistently, Monday through Friday. It is the responsibility of the parent to provide one location for pick up or drop off throughout the week.  Parents’ changing work schedules or custody issues are the responsibility of the parent and cannot be accommodated by the school transportation system.  Exceptions will be considered by building principals in emergency situations. Building principals or their designee determine if any emergency exists.
  • Requests for temporary changes in student transportation must be submitted in writing to the building principal for approval.
  • Drivers will not accept temporary changes in student transportation unless those changes have been approved by the proper school authority.
  • Requests for changes in student transportation involving more than one (1) consecutive day must be approved by the Supervisor of Transportation.

 

The Bus Driver's Responsibilities
The bus driver is carefully selected and professionally trained for his/her job. Providing safe, efficient, comfortable transportation is his/her aim.
To do this he/she must:

  • Follow a planned route and time schedule.
  • Make pick ups and discharges at scheduled stops only.
  • Transport only those assigned to his/her bus.
  • Keep his/her bus in safe operating condition at all times.
  • Keep his/her-bus clean and comfortable at all times.
  • Keep records required by the Board of Education.
  • Maintain acceptable control on the bus.
  • Informs students of bus rules and consequences.
  • Report violations of bus rules and regulations to the principal on the proper referral forms. 

 

The School's Responsibilities
Because most children ride school buses, the school's responsibility for training students to be good passengers has greatly increased. In order to share their fair responsibility in this important phase of the school program, principals must take the lead by:

  • Ensuring that students understand school bus rules and regulations, and insisting that they be followed.
  • Providing support for the drivers in their effort to maintain good school bus conduct and observance of the rules.
  • Encouraging teachers to include "School Bus Operations" in appropriate units and lessons dealing with safety.
  • Promoting parental support in matters pertaining to public school transportation.
  • Conducting special school programs, such as assemblies, contests, essays, etc., dealing with school transportation and safety. 

 

Principal’s Responsibilities - Sequence of Disciplinary Action
All public school students in Caroline County are subject to the rules and regulations of the Board of Education regarding student conduct while being transported on school buses. Inappropriate behaviors which distract the driver are very serious to the safe operation of the vehicle. Offenses which result in disciplinary action will be investigated by school level administrators. In every case, the effect of the student's behavior on the ability of the driver to operate the bus in a safe manner shall be given primary consideration. If the removal of bus riding privileges becomes a necessity, the consequences listed below will be followed for all students. It should be understood that decisions regarding riding privileges are final and student violations are cumulative. When serious infractions occur (Class II or III), the sequence of disciplinary actions listed below may be accelerated.

  • First Offense - warning and/or 1 day with parent notification.
  • Second Offense - 3 days with parent notification.
  • Third Offense - 5 days with parent notification.
  • Fourth Offense - 30 days with parent notification and parent conference before reinstatement.
  • If, following a 30-day suspension, a student continues to misbehave on the bus, the student will lose riding privileges until such time that the parent and student can demonstrate to the Supervisor of Transportation that the student is able to ride the bus without endangering others.
  • Suspensions will be carried over into the next school year.
  • In severe discipline situations, students may be removed immediately from the bus by the school principal or the Supervisor of Transportation. In an unusual situation, the principal may use his/her judgment in determining the length of time a student should lose his/her bus riding privileges. 

 

Community’s Responsibilities

  • All motorists are required by law to stop when the red lights on buses are flashing.  Passing a bus when the red lights are flashing is the biggest threat to student safety.  Failure to stop for a school bus when the flashing red lights are operational can result in a traffic ticket and a fine of up to $1,000.  In addition, motorists should be forewarned that the red flashing lights and the stop sign may be engaged shortly after the amber lights are on.  All traffic should slow and prepare to stop when motorists see a school bus beginning to slow down and when students are present at the roadside. 
  • Motorists should never pass a school bus on the right side or on the shoulder of the road, especially when the red or amber lights are flashing. 

 

Inclement Weather

Please refer to the CCPS Policy for Inclement Weather.  Note:  Parents who have given their correct/updated phone number to their child’s school should receive a School Messenger phone call regarding any delayed openings, early dismissals or school closings, in addition to notices that are aired on public broadcasting channels designated in the CCPS Policy.  Parents should have a contingency plan in place to take care of their children on such days. 


Process and Procedures for Scheduling Field Trips

Philosophy
Field trips are an important part of the instructional program. They may be used to introduce new learning and to reinforce concepts previously presented. With careful planning, field trips can greatly enrich and expand the classroom experiences.

Procedures
A field trip can realize its full potential when proper planning takes place. The following procedures are suggested to insure the best possible trip.

Pre-Trip
The teacher selects a trip that relates to the classroom instruction or the goals of the extracurricular activity.

The teacher fills out a computerized “Request For Transportation” form which is on the Field Trip manager database and forwards it to the principal at least three (3) weeks before the trip date.

The principal checks for the appropriateness of the trip and the completeness of the information. Upon approval, the form is sent via the Field Trip manager database to the Transportation Office at least two (2) weeks before the proposed trip.

The Transportation Office will provide directions to the bus driver on the proper route for the trip. If directions cannot be provided, the school will be contacted to provide help.

If a field trip must be postponed or canceled, the school should notify the Transportation Office immediately. Please follow up the telephone call with an email to the transportation secretary and/or Supervisor of Transportation. If the trip is on a non-school day, the school should notify the bus drivers that are involved. The name and number of the buses are on the confirmation form that is returned to the school.

 

Day of Trip
Buses should arrive at the school at least fifteen (15) minutes before the scheduled departure time.

If motor coaches are utilized, the check for the trip should be made out to the bus company and given to the bus driver on the day of the trip.

The teacher in charge and the bus driver should discuss the trip schedule, time and place for stops and any special situations before leaving on the trip.

Teachers and chaperones are responsible for student behavior on the bus. Students should obey all normal bus rules and in addition:

  • remain seated during the trip;
  • refrain from loud talking;
  • keep their seat and floor clean;
  • listen to and obey all directions of the bus driver, chaperones or other school staff on the bus;
  • follow all school rules;
  • only listen to iPod's, CD or MP3/4 players with proper headphones quietly while the bus is in operation.
  • refrain from use of Cellphones and keep all electronic devices on Vibrate or Silent.

Schools should have students and equipment ready to leave at the scheduled departure time. Do not expect the bus driver to make up for a late start by driving faster.

No eating on the bus except by permission of the driver. The teacher should indicate the need for eating on the bus when the transportation request is submitted. It should be listed under the section for special institutions
A list of students on the bus should be maintained by the chaperones. The list should be used to confirm that all students are on the bus before leaving a stop. It is the teacher’s responsibility to ensure that all students are on the bus before leaving a stop.

All stops to be made during a field trip are to be approved in advance by the principal and the Supervisor of Transportation.

The emergency door on the bus should not be used for an exit except in the event of an emergency.

The chaperone in charge should check the bus after the trip for cleanliness and lost items.

In the event of an emergency or change in the itinerary causing the return to be delayed, the teacher is responsible for calling the school. This should be done as soon as possible in advance of school dismissal to allow for proper arrangements to be completed. The school is responsible for notifying the Transportation Office of any problems concerning a field trip.

Regular buses should not be held up for field trips returning late. There is some room for judgment on the part of the principal. Generally, there should not be a delay of more than five (5) minutes of the regular routes.

After the Trip

The teacher should follow up with appropriate classroom activities.

The teacher or bus driver should report any behavior problems to the principal within one (1) school day of the trip.

Bus drivers should turn in the completed Driver’s Information Form and a Field Trip Report form to the Transportation Office within one (1) week of the trip. The bus driver should also give the remaining Field Trip Evaluation forms to the chaperone in charge.

Upon receiving the bill from the Transportation Office, the school shall make a check payable to the Caroline County Board of Education for the amount specified and send it to the Transportation Office along with the completed Field Trip Evaluation Form. The field trip request number should be included on the check.

General Guidelines

Overnight trips are not permitted for elementary schools, middle schools, athletic (except state play-offs) and class trips.

Only two (2) overnight trips per year by any organization will be approved by the Board of Education.

Trips longer than three (3) days and/or trips to foreign countries must be approved at least two (2) months in advance by the Board of Education. The form “Request For Approval Of An Overnight Trip” shall be used for approval.

All absences resulting from approved trips shall be certified and students will be permitted to make up important work.

The minimum ratio of chaperones to students for overnight trips will be 1 to 10. The recommended ratio of chaperones to students on field trips for high schools is 1 to 10; middle schools is 1 to 8; and elementary schools is 1 to 6.

It is recommended that field trips be scheduled on Tuesday through Thursday and not prior to a holiday. This will allow for proper classroom preparation and follow up and also more in-depth learning to occur from the field trip experience.

If a trip is taken during the school day, provisions must be made to include all pupils in the class regardless of their economic ability.

Personal cars generally should not be used as transportation for students on school approved trips.
When no other options are available and personal cars must be used, the following procedures
should be followed:

  • The driver must be at least 21 years old and possess a valid driver’s license.
  • A statement of insurance coverage and a photocopy of the driver’s license should be on file in the Transportation Office before the date of the trip.
  • A form signed by the building principal giving that person authorization to transport a student should be on file in the transportation office.

Field trips taken to points on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Delaware should be on school buses when students or the Board of Education are contributing towards transportation costs.

All field trip requests are to be sent to the Transportation Office by April 1st. Field trips are not to be scheduled during the first ten (10) days of school and the last ten (10) days of school.

Field Trip Funding
A field trip may be funded by one or a combination of the following methods:

  1. cost shared by the students;
  2. PTA or support groups providing funds;
  3. student organizations conducting fund raisers within the Board of Education approved guidelines;
  4. special state or national grants as they may apply.

No students will be denied the opportunity to go on a field trip taken during the school day because of the inability to pay for the cost of the trip.

Field Trip Cancellation
Once a field trip has been scheduled, please try to avoid canceling the trip if at all possible. If canceling a trip becomes necessary, notify the transportation office as soon as possible. In the event of canceling a trip with:

School Buses -

  1. ) Cancellation during the week of the trip, a fee will be assessed equal to the full cost of the trip in terms of the hours that the driver would have worked.
  2. ) The hourly rate for the driver will be $15.78 per hour.
  3. ) For cancellation of the trip during the week prior to the date of the trip, a fee of $25.00 will be assessed.

Motor Coach Carriers -
These companies have their own policies regarding the cancellation of trips once the contract has been issued. The fee can be as high as the total cost of the trip.