NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County is the latest district to prepare for face-to-face instruction.
With that comes a return to buses and routes for students.
Starting Monday, the district will be operating under Plan B, a mix of virtual and in-person learning. Under Plan B, the district shared details about how the new bus routes will work differently.
Typically, Clawson says they usually do 523 runs every day, with about 40% of riders in the morning and 60% in the afternoon.
With students being split into two groups for hybrid learning, Clawson says they’re going to be doing shorter runs and double runs.
“We’re going to have 105 buses on the road this year, and 46 of them are going to go back of a second run,” NHCS Director of Transportation Mark Clawson said.
Clawson says there are usually around 135 buses, but this year they only have enough drivers for 105 buses. However, he says they’re going to be doing shorter routes, so they’ll still have enough drivers to complete the routes.
The district says it has brought the bus capacity down from 72 to 24 students.
“Less stops, quicker runs, double runs, having drivers available at a moment’s notice to fill in for a driver who doesn’t show up,” Clawson said.
Another big change families will notice, is students will be at community bus stops, unless it’s in a dangerous walk zone.
“You’re also going to have a lot more kids at each stop, so it’s going to be safe,” Clawson said. “It’s not like kids are going to be having to walk a far distance and be all by themselves.”
Clawson says kids must wear a face mask on the bus, and if they forget, he says the bus drivers will have extras.
“Kids will load from the back,” he said. “They’ll go to the last seat first and work their way up front. when they exit the bus, they’ll exit from the front to the back, so the kids don’t really ever cross paths with one another.”
Because of redistricting, Clawson says parents had to sign up again for transportation online. He says they’re expecting 9,000 riders Monday.
If you didn’t request transportation for your child, Clawson says you still can.
“They can put the request in now,” he said. “We’ll manage those next week. We’ll get them on maybe Thursday and Friday for the end of next week, but it’ll be Monday and Tuesday of the following week for those A-Group riders.”
Clawson says drivers will be out Friday practicing their routes, and they’re confident in their plans to welcome students back.
He says they are still dramatically short of bus drivers, and still need more than 20 drivers.
The district encourages parents to download the Edulog Portal app to track your child’s bus.
You can view bus routes here.
NHCS also released its updated calendars for schools.
You can view them here.