If you still have questions, please contact Transportation at 970-490-3232 or email@example.com.
For the latest information about the 2020-21 school year, please visit the 2020-21 web page.
Will PSD return to full (approximately 13,000) busing for the 2021-22 school year?
PSD is anticipating an increase in ridership in 2021-22, compared with the current year, with some possible limitations because of a reduction in routes due to the ongoing bus driver shortage. That said, we do not have a specific number of riders that PSD will bus in 2021-22. The district will likely require that all riders apply and will share more information when it is available. The district is not planning to provide School of Choice or alternate busing next school year.
How many students does each bus hold?
Full-size, 77-passenger buses and special education buses hold about 45 riders. During the 2021-22 school year, the community may see more riders on elementary school buses compared to the number of bus riders in the 2020-21 school year, when ridership was reduced significantly due to COVID-19 guidelines. The increase in ridership in 2021-22 is due to the health department approving additional riders per seat, and a bus holds up to three per seat. In a more “typical,” pre-COVID environment, PSD seats about two middle or high school students per bench because they are larger than their preschool and elementary counterparts. As a result, the PSD community may not see a significant increase in the numbers of middle and high school riders per bus, between the 2021-22 and 2020-21 school years.
What COVID-19 protocols will be in place on buses in the 2020-21 school year? Will PSD still leave empty seats around a student with an approved medical mask exemption?
What COVID-19 protocols will be in place on buses in the 2020-21 school year? As of May 2021, the health department has given PSD approval to place additional students per seat, compared with earlier on in the 2020-21 school year. That said, there will be some limitations due to PSD’s bus driver shortage. The Transportation Department is planning currently that riders will wear masks this fall and that some seats will be left empty around those who have an approved medical mask exception. PSD will continue monitoring public health guidance and make adjustments over time.
Will PSD still leave empty seats around a student with an approved medical mask exemption? Yes. As of May 2021, the PSD Transportation Department is planning to continue the 2020-21 school year protocol of having nine empty seats (three to the front, three behind, side to side) around a student with a medical exemption for a face covering. As the district has done throughout the pandemic, PSD will continue to monitor public health guidance and make adjustments.
How does the driver shortage affect the number of routes in PSD? PSD has communicated the driver shortage in the past. What has the district done to try to hire more drivers?
- How does the driver shortage affect the number of routes in PSD? In a “typical,” pre-COVID year, the Transportation Department was running about 136 routes and reduced that to about 95 during the 2020-21 school year due to COVID-19 busing guidelines and the bus driver shortage. The district does anticipate busing more students in the 2021-22 school year than in 2020-21.
- PSD has communicated the driver shortage in the past. What has the district done to try to hire more drivers? The bus driver shortage is impacting districts across the state and nation – not only PSD. PSD has experienced bus driver shortages of about 10-15 drivers in previous years, but this year’s shortage of about 35-40 drivers is the most significant yet. The PSD Transportation and Human Resources departments collaborated to increase the pay for drivers and offer a retention bonus to any current or new driver who is hired by July 31. Recruitment bonuses were also instituted. PSD is also marketing the open positions across platforms.
Why did PSD implement a bus request process?
The district didn’t have one prior to COVID-19. Instituting a request process enables the Transportation Department to assess the current demand for services and provide busing based upon those needs.
The PSD Bus Request application period for the 2021-22 school year closed June 30.
If I submitted a request for busing, when will I find out if my student will be bused?
Requests will be reviewed, and the PSD Transportation Department will notify families whether they have services after Aug. 1 and before the start of school. If they are confirmed for services, they will receive information about their bus route. There is not a set, single date by which families can expect to hear back at this point, as that will depend on the request and routing process over the next few months.
I noticed that riders who received services in 2020-21 do not have to submit a request if there are not certain changes (address, new school, etc.). Why is that?
During the 2020-21 school year, because of significant rider reductions due to COVID-19 guidelines for busing, Poudre School District 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.
Once all students were shifted to full-time, in-person learning in March 2021, principals worked with families and the Transportation Department to evaluate circumstances in which a need was identified and added additional riders, as possible. Looking forward, the rationale for prioritizing busing services in the 2021-22 school year for riders who are currently bused is that the students currently bused receive services either because they are legally required or due to an already-identified need. In most instances, family circumstances have not changed significantly.