July 17th, 2020
Dear parents and guardians of transported students,
Student Transportation Services Waterloo Region (STSWR) is busy preparing for the upcoming school year and is asking families in bus zones to communicate their transportation needs. As you may know, the Ministry of Education has directed school boards across the province to prepare for three possible return to school scenarios:
- In-Class: a normal school day routine with enhanced public health protocols.
- Online: at home distance learning with ongoing remote delivery.
- Adaptive: a combination of at-home learning and in-person cohort learning with alternating days or weeks.
In the event that the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) and Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) are required to employ the Adaptive school model (combined online and in-class) for September 2020, school buses will be loaded to a maximum of 24 students per bus at one time, and bus routes will be based on geography. Each student will solely occupy a bench or only share a seat with a sibling riding the same bus. Please note that children kept in separate classroom cohorts may not be on the same bus.
Since physical distancing can be challenging on buses, we expect that non-medical grade face masks will be required. We will continue to work with the Region of Waterloo Public Health and will communicate our decision in the coming weeks. We encourage all parents to teach their children how to use a face mask safely.
As in past years, all students living in the bus zone are automatically assigned to the bus based on the student address provided to the school. Parents/guardians can find out if they live in the bus zone or the walk zone by using the “Transportation Eligibility” portal on our website at www.stswr.ca.
If your child is in the bus zone, but requires partial or no busing, please fill out the Do Not Ride Form located on our website. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, and the format of the school year evolves, these forms will assist STSWR with accurate headcounts as we plan for September and further changes to school opening during the school year. For younger students, it is especially important to ensure your child is not assigned to a bus in error and inadvertently put on a bus at the end of the day if you are expecting them to walk or be picked up.
You may opt-out of busing altogether, or for either morning or afternoon busing only. This form lets your school, your bus driver, and STSWR know that your child will not be taking the bus in one, or both, directions. If you are choosing to opt-out of busing, please submit your decision no later than Friday, July 31th. If your child qualifies for busing you can opt-in again at any time throughout the school year by using the same form.
When STSWR receives the “Do Not Ride” forms from you, your child will be removed from the bus list accordingly for the morning, the afternoon, or both.
Both WRDB and WCDSB schools support active travel as a preferred method of transportation to school and offer a variety of programs that may be available to you. They also support a “Drive to 5” program to encourage those who must drive, to park a safe distance away from schools. For more information visit the STSWR website at www.stswr.ca/walkzone/programs/drive-to-five/.
If you have any questions about your child’s school transportation, please contact Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region at 519-744-7575 ext. 221.
Benoit Bourgault, General Manager, STSWR, Inc.