Southern Interior school district pilots app to track students while they ride the bus | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Southern Interior school district pilots app to track students while they ride the bus

FILE. School bus trackers are being used in Merritt.
Image Credit: Wikipedia
February 25, 2020 - 10:58 AM

Parents and teachers in Merritt will soon have an app that allows them to track students as they board and exit the school bus.

The Nicola-Similkameen School District signed on with Montreal-based company Transport to run the pilot project and it’s expected to get underway by March 30, school superintendent Steve McNiven said.

The idea was raised initially because of the district’s late bus, which runs from Monday to Thursday and allows rural and reserve students to stay at school late and take part in sports and extracurriculars.

Its use is inconsistent, which “makes it hard to track kids coming on and off the bus and that was the solution,” McNiven said.

While there have been no specific problems, from time to time, miscommunication about where a student is supposed to happen and this aims to put an end to it.

“The other piece that is important to note is we’ve had several inclement weather issues so we’ve had times when buses are delayed or cancelled because of that or road conditions,” McNiven said, adding that some routes are so far afield that students are on buses for as long as 45 minutes.

“This will give us and parents information about whether  the bus is delayed or cancelled because of these conditions.”

The tracking program works with buses having iPads on the bus. The students will have a QR code that they will scan on entrance and exit to the bus. 

“It will let us know who’s on and where they got off and hopefully improve communication and safety for our students," he said.

McNiven said privacy concerns have been considered and it’s important to him that any information is housed locally and uploaded to a secure website.

That’s one of the reasons why the district went with a Canadian company.

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