Welcome to HRCE Student Transportation Safety and our COVID-19 response

The Covid Chronicle

**** HRCE Release

Welcome to HRCE Student Transportation Safety and our COVID-19 response

Safety is always a priority for HRCE Transportation and our service providers; however, this year, busing will look a little different with additional measures.

Riding the bus is the first point of contact with schools for students in the morning and the last in the afternoon. Before coming to the bus stop, please screen your child as per the Daily Screening checklist.

When riding the school bus:

  • All children, students, monitors and drivers will be required to wear non-medical masks.
  • Buses will be cleaned twice daily, and high touch surfaces will be cleaned before and after each run.

As per the provincial announcement of the Back to School plan, student transportation will be provided for all eligible children from Pre-Primary to Grade 12. The health and safety of children, students, and staff is a priority. The HRCE is working collaboratively with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (EECD), and Public Health and we wanted to inform you of the following:

  • Because physical distancing will not always be possible on school buses, all children, students, monitors and drivers will be required to wear non-medical masks on school buses, with the exception of a valid medical reason.
    • Parents are encouraged to help their children become comfortable with wearing a mask.
    • A small number of students with sensory or health issues may not be able to tolerate wearing a mask. Parents of these students are asked to consult with their school to develop a plan for their children.
    • More details on the provincial announcement about mandatory masks on public transportation, including school buses, can be found here.
  • Information about wearing a non-medical mask can also be found here.
  • Buses will be cleaned twice daily.
  • High touch surfaces will be cleaned before and after each run.

New for Pre-Primary & Primary to Grade 2 Students

  • A parent/guardian must accompany Pre-Primary children to Grade 2 students to/from the bus stop and remain with the child until they are safely boarded.
  • A parent/guardian must buckle/unbuckle their child every day when required (if child is less than 40 pounds and 57″ height) and only if a seat belt is available. Bus drivers cannot leave their seats.
  • For more information on Pre-Primary FAQ, click here.

Register today for the Learn to Ride the Bus workshop!

We know that starting big school is a giant step for little people (and their families), so let’s have a trial run for fun! Our service providers will be hosting a few one-hour workshops this week. Register your child today to learn how to ride the school bus safely this September.

You can register your child by contacting HRCE Transportation Team at 902-431-4723 to reserve your time and location.

September 3 – 4:00 pm or 6:00 pm: Porters Lake Elementary  or Sir John A. MacDonald High

September 4 – 4:00 pm or 6:00 pm: Georges P. Vanier Junior High School or Rocky Lake Junior High School

Routing is ready for review

We recently sent an email to families who are eligible for student transportation for the 2020-21 school year with a request to activate their new Parent Portal account to review their child(ren)’s transportation information.

Please check your junk email folder just in case the activation email got delivered there instead of your inbox. The email subject line is “Activate your new BusPlanner Parent Portal account as your routing is ready for review!”

If your child(ren) are eligible for student transportation and you have not received an email yet, please contact the Transportation Team via email transportation@hrce.ca or call us at 902-431-4723. 

The BusPlanner Parent Portal has recently been upgraded and is now mobile friendly and easy to use! The Parent Portal allows parents/guardians to review all busing information, including bus schedules and locations and keeps families informed of transportation updates with email notifications.

We have carefully reviewed and planned bus routes and timing for the new school year so it is very important to check your busing information before the new school year begins.

How to activate your new Parent Portal account 

Once you’ve received your email, families are encouraged to follow the instructions below to activate their new Parent Portal account and review their routing for September.

Please follow these 5 simple steps to get started.

  1. Click the Activate link in the email we sent you and you will be sent to the BusPlanner Parent Portal website.
  2. Next, click Create Password (blue button).
    [Please do not change or remove your email address as shown.]
  3. Check your email inbox again (that we’ve just emailed you at) and click on the Activate link to create your password.
  4. Enter a New Password and Confirm New Password and click Create Password.
  5. You will now be prompted to Log In with your email and password.

You’re done! You will now be able to access your child(ren)’s busing information and receive automatic email notifications about transportation updates.

Please note: You will need to click the dropdown box by Name on the top of the My Students section to view each of your children’s transportation information.

For more information on the Back to School Plan, please visit novascotia.ca/backtoschool.

Student Transportation

Busing is provided to students living within a school’s catchment area and registered with that school, if eligible. In September, over 380 school buses will safely transport more than 25,000 HRCE students to and from school. Safety on a school bus is essential and everyone including drivers, students and families, has a role in ensuring school bus safety.

Click School Catchment to determine what school your child(ren) would attend based on your primary residence address. You can enter your street address and be shown what schools are in your catchment. If you are new to the area or looking at a home in HRM, this map is a great resource for your planning.

Please ensure your transportation information is updated.

Bus eligibility and routing are based on a student’s transportation address information in PowerSchool. HRCE Transportation depends on accurate information to plan your child’s bus routing.

If you are moving or changing daycares/ after-school programs, please contact your school to update your address or alternate address, otherwise your eligibility or routing may be delayed.

Our Student Transportation Parent Portal (Parent Portal) will automatically reflect any address changes and will update routing if your child is eligible for busing.

Please note: If a student attends school as an out-of-catchment area student, they are not eligible for transportation and parents/ guardians must make arrangements to transport their children to school.

Eligibility – New Distance Criteria for September

On June 15, 2020, the province announced a School Transportation Policy that will be effective as of September 1st, 2020. You can read more about this announcement here. One of the highlights of the new policy includes lowered distance criteria for bus eligibility. This means that more students are eligible for busing in September.

Eligibility for busing is determined on the shortest walking route from the student’s residence road-front property line to the assigned school property line.

We recognize that this is sometimes different from the distance that Google Maps (or other online tools) may provide. The new School Transportation Policy provides this definition for eligibility.

Students are assigned to routes based on their residence or alternate residence information in PowerSchool, if eligible. All transportation addresses must be in catchment of the student’s assigned school.

  • Transportation is provided to children attending pre-primary programs and elementary students who live more than 1.6 km from their school in their designated catchment area.
  • Transportation is provided to middle/junior high and secondary students who live more than 2.4 km from their school in their designated catchment area.

Visit hrcetransportation.mybusplanner.ca and click “Am I Eligible for Student Transportation?

Not eligible for student transportation?

Parents/guardians are responsible for providing transportation to and from school for their child if they are not eligible for student transportation. We encourage families to plan ahead if your child is not eligible for a bus.

We are here to support families. You can contact the HRCE Transportation Team via email transportation@hrce.ca or call 902-431-4723.

Transportation Review Committee for Policy Review
As part of the new provincial School Transportation policy, families are now able to request a review of any non-behaviour related transportation decision. Click here to learn more.

Unassigned Seat Update

HRCE will allow students to access unassigned seats, once we know we can do that. The availability of any unassigned seating will not be determined until all eligible students are routed after September 30th. Right now, families who are ineligible for busing under the new provincial School Transportation policy, but express an interest in this have been tracked.

When we see where new families are settling in September, and we have finalized any issues in routing, we will be able to take requests, review and determine if unassigned seats will be available.

Who will be busing my child to school in September?

  • Families can identify their school and school bus service provider for the 2020-21 school year at hrce.ca/transportation/2020.
  • Please do NOT contact any of our bus service providers as all questions about busing related concerns, requests or routing should be sent to the HRCE Transportation Team.

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