Technology helps parents track kids, buses when they go back to school

WCPOPublished: August 11, 2017
Published: August 11, 2017

Technology is taking some of the worry from parents who put young kids on school buses to and from Kenton County Schools and Cincinnati Public Schools. In Kenton County, parents can track their kids’ bus with an app through the MyBusBuddie Parent Portal. Just put in the bus number and the app will show you where the bus is. Jess Dykes, Director of Public Relations for the school district, speaks from first-hand experience when she and her husband are wondering where their bus is. “My husband in particular uses this on days that are foggy - on days that we might have a two-hour delay,” Dykes said. And the information is available at parents’ fingertips without making a phone call. “If you call your child’s school, they’re not going to know exactly where that bus is. They’re answering all kinds of phone calls,” Dykes said. It’s especially useful in bad weather, said Assistant Superintendent Kim Banta. “When it’s raining buckets and you are standing in the rain and you want to know how long you have to stand in the rain, that’s the reason for this,” Banta said. The app refreshes every 30 seconds to make sure your bus’s location is as accurate as possible. And it’s safe, Banta said. “Anybody can log in, but it does not track the bus moment by moment. Someone who’s doing something nefarious is not going to know where your student is getting off,” Banta said. Each bus has a GPS tracker that allows this app to work - even when there’s a substitute bus on the road. “People love it when it rains … snow, traffic and the first few days of school,” Banta said. Kenton County parents can sign up for MyBusBuddie here. Cincinnati Public Schools uses a program called ZPass to track elementary school students on the yellow bus service operated by vendors. Students swipe a bus pass when boarding and exiting the yellow bus, and parents are instantly notified on their phones or email. In addition, parents can be notified when yellow buses are 15 minutes or more behind schedule.

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