Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
The Fairfield school district has begun a gradual rollout of new technology that will better track students who ride buses.
The district Transportation Director Mark Branch explained that the new system is coordinated with the routing software they already use.
“What it does is scan all the kids on and scan all the students off so we can keep track of them at all times when they’re on the bus,” Branch said. “It tracks each individual student.”
Students will be issued scan cards that they use when they get on and off their bus.
“When they scan on or scan off, it pops up on the driver’s screen,” Branch said. “It will be green if they should be on that bus, and it will be red if they don’t.
“It will give the driver the information for what bus they belong on. The driver can direct the student to the correct bus.”
The program has an app for parents so they can get real-time access to time and location information regarding their student’s bus.
“Parents will be able to get information on pickup times and drop-off times and if those times are adjusted,” Branch said. “If the bus is running late because of weather, the parents will know that.
“They can pull up the app and see what time their student is going to arrive or be picked up.”
The district started rolling out the program at Washington Elementary School.
“We figured we should start with the elementary first because they’re probably going to be a little harder to train than the older students,” Branch said. “We have associates and staff coming out of the buildings. They’re helping the students with how to work the scanners and where the scan bar is.”
He said that elementary school bus riders already have bus tags on their backpacks, and the new scan cards are being put on the backpacks.
Eventually, the technology will be in place for the entire district.
“We’re slowly trying to implement this right now,” Branch said. “This way, it doesn’t overwhelm the students, and it doesn’t overwhelm the drivers.
“We’re going to spread it out in increments until we get everybody who rides the bus on board.”