Bus transportation will look very different as APS transitions to in-person learning. Due to the state’s physical distancing guidelines, buses will only be able to transport a maximum of 11 students at a time.
To meet state guidelines, APS Transportation Services has modified bus service for the 2020-21 school year. Below is important information about how transportation will operate as APS brings students back for in-person learning. As always, if your child is sick or has any COVID-related symptoms, please keep them home.
- APS will only route bus eligible students whose families indicated through the Instructional Model survey that they will use the bus.
- Students who are eligible for transportation but whose parents have not selected it, may be routed on request, but seats may not be immediately available for them.
- Bus rider information (stops and times) will be delivered in ParentVue at least one week before the start of school. Due to the limited time to plan routes, the standard bus letter will not be mailed. Families can also call their child’s school to request their bus stop and time. Students must follow the schedule provided to them.
- Each bus will carry a maximum of 11 student riders.For stops with more than 11 students assigned to them, there will be multiple pick-up times at each stop. Students may only ride the bus on which they are routed; they may not ride an earlier or later loop at the same stop.
- Bus attendants will have rosters to check student ride assignments.
- Families should plan to be at the bus stop least 10 minutes before their scheduled time and wait at least 10 minutes after if the bus has not yet arrived.
- Students who are not assigned to a bus may not ride on a bus.
- Drivers will have student health information available on the tablets with which each bus is equipped.
- Riders are encouraged to take the bus. Students who do not use the bus will have their slot reassigned.
- Bus attendants will verify students/families have completed their daily screening or will ask that they complete screening before boarding the bus. Attendants will also take a temperature at the bus stop. Parents are asked to make a back-up plan for use if their student fails the health screening at the bus stop. If a student has a fever or other symptoms, they will not be allowed on the bus.
- Students must wear a mask on the bus.
- Only one student is permitted on each seat due to health and safety guidelines. Seats will be marked for student use.
- Route and stop locations for students attending neighborhood schools may be different from typical years in order to get students to school on time with limited bus capacity.
- Students attending option schools/programs will pick up their bus at hub stops and will be assigned to the closest one.
- Siblings are not permitted on special needs buses.
To address the limited bus seat availability, APS has made some changes to where and how bus riders are picked up to allow Transportation Service to focus bus service on routes that are farthest from school and allow them to move more quickly between stops and school.This includes expanding walk zones at 16 elementary schools. APS will not provide bus service in the expanded areas. For those families that live within these expanded areas, we encourage walking and/or biking to school. Not only will it allow families to avoid vehicle congestion and the need to find a parking space around their school, but it will give students an opportunity for some movement before the start of what will otherwise be a fairly sedentary day.
To help families navigate their way through the expanded areas, APS – with assistance from Walk/Bike Arlington, has developed route maps through the zones to school. In addition, APS’ Safe Routes to School program has compiled resources for those who may wish to form a walking school bus or bike train. In places where the expansion would require students to cross a major road, we are collaborating with the County to provide crossing support at those locations.