Northern Local Transportation Frequently Asked Questions
1. WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM TIME A STUDENT MAY RIDE HIS/HER SCHOOL BUS IN OHIO?
There is no identified target number that districts are obligated to meet. It is up to each school district to manage the length of time students ride their bus. Ride times vary by traffic, locality and numerous other criteria; therefore, each school district’s ride times can be different.
2. WE MOVED DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR; HOW DO I CHANGE MY CHILD’S BUS?
All transportation changes are made through the student’s school. Please be sure to update the school with your latest information, including address, phone number and day care arrangements
3. HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR MY CHILD TO RECEIVE TRANSPORTATION?
At peak times, under normal conditions, it may take up to 5 (five) business days from the time Transportation receives the request for your child to be placed on a bus route. The parent is responsible for the child’s transportation during this period.
6. HOW DO I REQUEST TRANSPORTATION FOR A STUDENT?
A Northern Local student automatically receives transportation, provided the student meets the criteria.
7. WHAT IS ‘STATE MINIMUM’ TRANSPORTATION?
State minimum requires transportation for only those students in grades K-8 who reside more than 2.0 miles from school. The state does not require us to transport grades 9-12. However, districts do have an obligation to transport students with special needs, as identified in those students’ Individual Education Programs (IEP).
8. I HAVE BEEN TOLD THE BUS WILL NOT STOP IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE AND MY CHILD WILL HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE BUS AT ANOTHER LOCATION THAT IS NOT VISIBLE FROM MY HOME; WHAT CAN I DO?
No law requires a parent to be able to see a bus stop from his or her home. It is the parent and/or guardian’s responsibility to make sure a student arrives at and from the bus stop safely. The pick-up point will be within a reasonable distance of the home. Northern Local Schools may require students to walk up to one-half (.5) mile to a designated bus stop as defined by ORC 3301-83-13 (B). For example, students living on cul-de-sacs less than one half mile long may be required to walk to a designated bus stop at the nearest intersection.
Neighbors who attend the same school are asked to share a single stop. Walk your young child to the bus stop and have older children walk in groups. There is safety in numbers; groups are easier for drivers to see. Brightly colored clothing is easier for drivers to see than dark colors. Have your child pack his/her belongings in a backpack so items are not lost along the way. Make sure your child leaves the house so that he/she gets to the bus stop at least five minutes before scheduled stop time. Running can be dangerous!
9. I WANT MY CHILD TO WAIT INSIDE MY HOUSE OR CAR UNTIL THE BUS IS AT THE STOP. IS THIS ALLOWED?
Northern Local Schools along with Ohio Revised Code 3301-83-08 (C1) requires children to be waiting at the bus stop prior to its scheduled arrival (The industry standard is 5 minutes prior to scheduled Pick Up). Bus drivers must count the students at the bus stop before they load and as they get on the bus to ensure all children are safely onboard. If students are not waiting at the bus stop, the bus driver cannot count them and cannot be certain all the students are safely on board. Waiting at the bus stop before the bus arrives further ensures that no one chases after a bus, which is a very dangerous thing to do. Many districts also instruct their buses not to stop at locations where no students are waiting.
10. WHY DOES MY CHILD HAVE TO BE AT THE BUS STOP 5 MINUTES BEFORE THEIR SCHEDULED PICK UP TIME?
It is important for your child to be at the bus stop ahead of the scheduled pick-up in order to assure he or she will be transported. Sometimes, traffic or weather may mean an early arrival or late arrival; remaining at the stop after the scheduled pick-up time will allow extra minutes to help account for those inevitable delays.
11. WHY IS MY CHILD'S BUS LATE?
Weather, traffic, driver absenteeism, maintenance difficulties, and unforeseen incidents are responsible for delays in the arrival of school buses in the morning and afternoon.
12. CAN YOU NOTIFY ME WHEN THE BUS IS LATE?
It is our goal to provide transportation to those students who qualify, every day, on time. Unfortunately, unexpected glitches such as traffic delays, shortage of drivers, mechanical issues, etc. may mean your child’s bus is late for pick up or drop off. Because of the rapid nature of these delays, we may not be able to give you a specific time. One of our biggest challenges to date has been maintaining current contact information for parents, many of whom change phone numbers and do not update the phone number with the school/district Parents are encouraged to sign up for our remind app to receive any updates about late buses or potential transportation issues (this information is available from your child’s bus driver).
13. WHY DID YOU SUSPEND MY CHILD FROM RIDING THE BUS?
Behavioral expectations on the school bus are much like those in the classroom. Add in the mobility of that "classroom" and traffic, added noise and the size of the "classroom" and you have a potential catastrophe if there are not clear expectations and enforcement.
The behavioral expectations on the bus revolve around the individual rights of every person on the bus, including the driver and the collective rights of students and driver as it pertains to safety. Anything that jeopardizes the safety of individuals on the bus is viewed as serious. Most drivers have bus rules or expectations posted on the bus; also, the yearly Student Code of Conduct booklet is distributed by the school and discussed in-depth with your student.
When there is an infraction, a referral is turned in to school administrators, who are responsible for contacting the student and parent to resolve the lack of compliance with bus expectations. The school administrator is solely responsible for consequences based on the incident as described by the driver and student. Our goal is never to deny any student transportation to and from school, but we must maintain safety for all students.
14. WHY CAN'T MY CHILD GET OFF WHEREVER HE/SHE WANTS IN THE AFTERNOON?
A child may get dropped off at an alternate location only in an extreme emergency. A note stating exact instructions pertaining to the temporary drop off location must be written by the parent and approved by the school administrator. The school administrator will give the note to the driver.
15. MY CHILD MISSED THE BUS PICKUP IN THE MORNING; WILL ONE COME BACK?
No. Because of the large and complex number of routes our district runs, we are not able to send buses back to pick up students who have missed the bus.
16. HOW DO YOU DECIDE IT IS TOO HAZARDOUS TO TRANSPORT STUDENTS TO SCHOOL BECAUSE OF WEATHER?
When deciding whether to close schools, factors that are taken into consideration include but are not limited to:
- Amount and type of snow;
- When the snow falls, and when the snowfall is expected to end;
- Ability to clear parking lots and sidewalks around schools;
- Condition of all streets (Main and Secondary), and bus stops;
- Freezing rain and the effect on roads, power lines and tree limbs;
- Wind and wind chill; and,
- Temperature (watched closely when predicted near 0º)
Members of the Northern Local Administrative Team closely monitor local forecasts at first announcement of a storm front. At all times the safety of students and staff is the basis for determining the cancellation of school.
The condition of all roads is also considered. There will be times when the regular buses cannot travel on all roads because of large accumulations of snow, or because of certain drifting patterns in some areas of the district. Main roads, over time, may be cleared after a morning snowfall, but our secondary roads often remain hazardous beyond those early hours when buses deliver our children to school.
In most situations, the decision to close schools will be made by 5:15 a.m. Notification of school closings because of inclement weather will be sent to local radio and TV stations along with a one-call.
17. CAN MY STUDENT GET OFF THE BUS WITHOUT A PARENT/GUARDIAN/DESIGNEE THERE TO MEET THEM? WHAT HAPPENS IF I AM NOT THERE TO MEET THE BUS?
A parent/guardian/designee is required to be at the stop only for students in second grade and below. Students in grades three through twelve are not required to have an adult at the stop. If no adult is at the stop to receive a K-2 student: Northern Local students are taken to the home school or to the Northern Local Bus Garage at 8650 Sheridan Road, Thornville Ohio 43076.
18. HOW ARE BUS STOPS DETERMINED?
Bus stops are determined by the Transportation Department, which considers a variety of factors including safety and number of students living in the area, while adhering to district policy and state law.
19. HOW DO I REQUEST THAT MY CHILD BE PICKED UP OR DROPPED OFF AT A BABYSITTERS?
Any student requesting to be picked up and/or dropped off at any location different from their home address must submit an Alternate Transportation request with the Transportation Department. These forms may be found on the Transportation page of the Northern Local Website.