We are attaching two videos of our newest systems which are now fully functional on our school buses. Both systems are provided by Zonar Systems, which incorporates our existing GPS. This allows us to have one company handle all aspects of the system. I will put in a little synopsis for each video.
Video 1: Student Child Check system
SB 1072 (The Paul Lee School Bus Safety Law) was enacted as a result of the September 2015 tragedy (Whittier, CA) when a student was left aboard a school bus unattended and died. This new law requires that all school districts for the start of the 18/19 school year must have a child check system (approved by the California Highway Patrol) installed in each school bus. By Dec 2017, the CHP must have the specifications adopted for this system. Unfortunately, leaving students aboard a school bus unattended happens too often. Here at Cajon Valley, I teach our drivers from day one how to prevent this from occurring, and continually remind ALL staff of the process to prevent leaving a child aboard unattended. We also will have updated curriculum from the CDE addressing this situation which too will be taught to all of our staff.
Cajon Valley implemented this program well before the mandated start date, and installed the Student Check System in all of our school buses for the start of the 16/17 school year. The video shows a brief process on the steps the driver(s) MUST do each and every time the bus is left unattended. IF a driver does not complete these steps, continual email alerts are sent to appropriate staff. At this point, staff must go to the bus, and perform the student check. We have internal measures here to keep track of when this occurs.
Video 2: ZPASS – Student Attendance System
It is becoming more common that parents/guardians want to know when their children have gotten on or off the bus, at what location, and at what time. This system, ZPASS, uses an RFID card which is issued to each bus rider. The student will swipe (scan) their issued ZPASS card at the reader which is located at the entrance area of the school bus. The child will scan each time he/she gets on and off the school bus. For our Special Needs students who are unable to perform this task, the driver or attendant will scan the ZPASS card for the student. The system will send electronically (either via a desktop portal or smart phone application) the information to the parent. This parent portal is optional and we are receiving positive feedback from our parents on that option.
Further, each principal has received a set of directions on how to log in to the portal to instantaneously see who is aboard the school bus. We find this is a very useful tool as we get inquiries that require us to radio the driver to find out if a particular student (or group of students) is/are aboard the bus. This allows Administrators the ability to find this information out without having to contact Transportation.
The online attendance also allows us the capability of determining exactly who is aboard any of our school buses at any given time. This comes in particularly useful when an accident has occurred, and we need to provide lists of those aboard.
Edward “Ted” Saltzstein
Cajon Valley Union School District, Transportation Department
Driver Instructor / Safety Coordinator, Field Trip Coordinator