Black Gold School Division
GPS systems give the Black Gold School Division another method to provide for accountability and timeliness. It is important for the Transportation Department to know where the buses are at in case of a breakdown or bus accident. We are then able to dispatch Emergency Services to assist students as soon as possible. The GPS system will also tell us the speed of the bus and whether or not the light system was working at the time, along with other critical data.
In a growing school division, it is becoming evident that this technology can assist with ensuring the safety of student riders. In the event of an accident, lock-down, shelter-in-place, or a missing student scenario, pertinent information will be available at the Transportation Department (a centralized location) and can be relayed to all necessary authorized personnel (police, parents, etc.) in a timely manner.
For example, in the event of a missing child where time is of the essence, we will be able to account for all student riders and know if the child has gotten on or off their bus, or is the wrong bus, etc. This may seem like a rare instance, but each year it does occur in both urban and rural settings.
How do student bus passes work?
Bus passes are specific to each student and will have their name and school on the pass. Passes are required for entry onto the school bus. Each time the student enters or exits the bus they must tap the pass on the reader pad. The system will log each student’s entry and exit. To ensure your child is accounted for, please have them tap their bus pass when entering and exiting the bus. They will hear an audible beep to confirm they have tapped.
If the bus pass has been misplaced, a replacement pass can be purchased online by logging into your PowerSchool Parent portal, under the “Student Fees and Forms” section.
At Black Gold safety is our top priority. When the temperatures dip lower than -40C (with or without windchill) our concern is that a bus may break down with students on board, and there may still be students waiting outside for a bus.
If buses are cancelled or running late, bus status notifications will be updated prior to 6:30 a.m. or as soon as possible. The bus status notifications will also be posted on our website at www.blackgold.ca as well as the individual school websites – please click on the Bus Status App icon.
Schools always remain open for those that walk or are transported to the school. If your child will not be in attendance, please let the school know as soon as possible.
Please keep in mind that when temperatures are cold, regardless of your child’s age, you need to be at the bus stop with your child for safety reasons. Your child needs to be dressed appropriately for the weather conditions.
Schools are always open unless there is a specific school-related emergency, like a watermain break.
We have contracted bus routes and the contractors hire their own drivers who must adhere to all Black Gold School Division policies and standards according to the Driver Handbook.
DRIVERS: All of our operators are trained with the Provincial ‘S’ Endorsement/MELT program along with on-going refresher training, First Aid and Hours of Service.
CONTRACTORS: Our contractors adhere to the National Safety Code for commercial operations.
STUDENTS: Students are expected to behave as if they are in the classroom. Rules are posted both front and back on each bus along with the consequences for breaking the rules.
PARENTS: It is an expectation that parents or guardians will accompany a young child to and from the bus stop on a daily basis for safety and supervision. Please go over with your child the rules and what to do if they miss their bus. Don’t forget your school bus operator needs to know of medical concerns or special needs for your child. We appreciate you as parents and will do everything we can to take great care of your child while we have them.
Board policy requires contractors to do two school bus evacuations each year, one in the fall and the second in the spring.
In addition, Safely on Board does a bus safety inservice for all ECS students and grade 1 students.
It is mandatory for school buses to be inspected semi-annually by a certified school bus inspection station and the Division is required to keep a copy of the inspections on file for at least three years. Buses are also spot inspected by Alberta Transportation Carrier Services throughout the school year. From time to time, you may see Motor Transport Inspection Officers at the schools after the morning routes inspecting school buses.
Please ensure your children are aware of the proper procedure to cross in front of the bus, whether they reside in town or in the rural area. There have been numerous incidents where motorists are not stopping for buses where the operators have activated the red flashing lights and stop arms. Although many efforts have been made through local and provincial awareness campaigns, and in spite of the $500.00 fine and 6 demerits, this is still happening on a regular basis. The bus drivers are having difficulties obtaining license numbers as there is only one plate on the vehicle. In addition by the time they have checked on the safety of the students outside of the bus, the vehicle is long gone. Anyone may report a motorist to the local law enforcement detachment by trying to get a license number and the description of the driver and the vehicle.
Please ensure your child(ren) are aware and practice the following safety procedures when crossing in front of the bus:
Please ensure your children are aware of area around the bus which is called the Danger Zone. Students should never walk in the Danger Zone as the bus driver cannot see them from his/her seat. Students have walked directly in front of the bus when crossing the street, behind the bus instead of in front, and have reached for dropped articles under the bus. More students are injured outside of the school bus that when riding the school bus.
The first aid courses and the S Endorsement/MELT program strongly recommend students do not eat on the bus in case a child succumbs to choking. A choking child makes no noise and the driver would not know if there were problems. By the time the driver notices the child is in distress and safely parks the bus, the student could be in real difficulty.
Black Gold School Division does not allow any passenger to eat (including gum and drinks) on the school bus for either the regular bus trip or field trips.
Band Instruments such as trombones, tubas, French horns, saxophones, guitars and sports equipment such as skate boards, hockey sticks, hockey bags, curling brooms, skis are not allowed on the bus.
The School Bus Operation regulation of the Motor Transport Act deals with items being carried on a school bus, and the drivers are responsible to ensure that the regulation is adhered to.
Students must be able to hold all of his/her school items on his/her lap without them projecting out of the seating area, into the aisle or into another student’s space. Items no larger than 13″ (33cm) x 13″(33 cm) x 23″(59cm) can be carried on the school buses. This applies to regular bus runs as well as field trips.
According to the Traffic Safety Act, Regulation AR 437/86 s14:
No person shall, while transporting pupils on a school bus, convey in or on the school bus:
Parents are also encouraged to communicate with their child’s school bus driver (one day in advance) about any changes to their child’s regular school bus transportation routine (i.e. your child will not be on the bus, your child is supposed to meet another family member rather than the regular one at the bus stop, the child is supposed to walk home with siblings, or your child is to walk home alone, etc.).
Bus drivers cannot wait for students at their stop as they have to be at the transfer points and schools on time. Students who run after a bus because they are late could slip and fall under a moving bus. If students are not at the stop, the driver will assume the student is not attending school that day or the parent is taking the student to school.
In the morning, it is a parent responsibility to ensure their child gets on the bus. In the case of an older student (12 and up) please ensure they have a house key or other arrangements have been made in case they need to return home. After school, no child should be instructed to walk home. If they miss the bus, they are to return to the school office to call a parent or guardian for assistance.
BGSD contracts all busing services to professional contractors who have careful maintenance for their buses however, being mechanical, there is potential to break down. Drivers are to remain with the students at all times until another bus or other safe alternative has been arranged. Please make sure your child is dressed appropriately for the weather conditions.
All buses operating for Black Gold Schools will be equipped with video surveillance cameras on the interior of the bus for student safety and security. Recordings will only be viewed by Black Gold staff and bus contractors.