Transportation FAQ for 2020-21

If you still have questions, please contact Transportation at Transportation department at 970-490-3232 or busrequest@psdschools.org.

For the latest information about the 2020-21 school year, please visit the 2020-21 web page. 

 

Will PSD return to busing approximately 13,000 students again when the district transitions to Phase 3 and 4?

Unfortunately, no. Due to current bus driver shortages and health guidelines, among other challenges, PSD will not likely add routes and will still bus a limited number of students. Busing is guaranteed for students for whom transportation is legally required (i.e. those with Individualized Transportation Plans (ITP) and some foster students) as well as McKinney-Vento students experiencing homelessness. 
If circumstances in a family's life have changed and they feel their student meets these criteria, they may contact their school to see if busing may be provided. 

There are many students who might not be able to get to school without transportation. What has PSD done to address this?

Poudre School District asked families in summer 2020 to apply for busing if they thought their student would need transportation services this school year. Roughly 2,500 families submitted applications, and many of those were approved for services (there is no busing for school of choice students). Knowing that COVID-19 guidelines for busing and bus driver shortages meant PSD would bus fewer students this school year than last, PSD guaranteed busing for students for whom transportation is legally required (i.e. those with Individualized Transportation Plans (ITP) and some foster students), as well as McKinney-Vento students experiencing homelessness.

We also know, however, that not all families took part in the summer application process and that many families’ situations may have changed. We encourage any family whose situation has changed, throughout this pandemic or otherwise, to notify their school and see if their student may qualify for services. 

If a standard bus seats 77 passengers and there are 47 seats on a special education bus, why can’t PSD transport the same number of students as in past school years? Why is ridership limited?

Unfortunately, it is not just about the number of seats on a bus; there are many interconnected factors in play. Due to a severe bus driver shortage and initial COVID-19 bus ridership restrictions, PSD is currently running about 40 fewer routes than in a typical school year. The district does not have enough drivers to make any significant route additions, as PSD shifts in educational phases during the second semester.

During a typical school year, standard bus capacity is three riders per seat. Continuing to follow initial COVID-19 guidance for busing, PSD will seat one student per seat (two members from the same household can sit together). With approval from the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, PSD will in second semester assign two riders from different households to one seat only when necessary, in order to accommodate students who were already receiving busing in previous educational phases this year.

It is also important to note what’s referred to as time capacity. Transportation may not be able to add riders to a bus due to the time it takes to bus the assigned students. Simply put: Although it may appear that a bus with only 10 students has room for more riders, it could be that it takes 45 minutes to pick up/drop off those students. Adding more students would make that bus late to other schools.

Will bus routes/bus numbers change again this school year?

Barring unforeseen circumstances, we do not anticipate making significant changes to routes for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. PSD leadership intend to maintain in-person education through the end of the school year, and busing services have been re-designed to align with the district’s current plans. That said, it is important to note that bus routes may have to be cancelled unexpectedly during the second semester.  

Even before the pandemic, PSD was experiencing a shortage of bus drivers despite working hard to recruit and train new drivers. That coupled with challenges due to COVID-19 has made it increasingly difficult for Transportation Services to find drivers to backfill routes and maintain daily operations. 

A bus route might be cancelled for the following reasons: 

  • A driver must quarantine after identified as a close contact of a person who is positive for COVID-19 (i.e. bus driver’s spouse or household member). Student riders would be considered contacts of a close contact of a positive case, otherwise referred to as a tertiary contact for whom exposure risk is considered very low. Tertiary contacts are not typically quarantined. 
  • A household member tests positive for COVID-19 and a driver needs to stay home to care for them.
  • A driver is out with general illness symptoms (not related to a COVID-19 diagnosis) and will follow PSD’s Return to Learn guidance in order to come back to work. 
  • To be clear, if a driver or rider tested positive for COVID-19, PSD would conduct an Initial Assessment Period with the health department to identify close contacts. It is also possible the route would be cancelled until the assessment was completed.

My child attends a school-of-choice school. Can they still be bussed next year? 

Unfortunately, due to the very limited capacity for transportation, PSD is not accepting transportation services school-of-choice applications for the 2020-21 school year at this time.