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New Haven Schools to Use App for Parents to Track Child's Bus

NBC Universal, Inc.

New Haven Public Schools are using an app that will allow parents and guardians to track their child’s bus and it comes at a time when communities across the state and the country are dealing with a shortage of bus drivers.

New Haven Public Schools and the school bus company, First Student, are using the FirstView App, which will allow parents to see the real-time estimated time of arrival for their child’s school bus, according to New Haven officials.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker, New Haven Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Iline Tracey, Director of Transportation Carl Jackson, and Betsy Ross School Principal Jennifer Jenkins took part in the news conference at 10:30 a.m.

The Betsy Ross School in New Haven is using a GPS bus tracking app for parents and Principal Jennifer Jenkins discussed the benefits of it.

Tracey said the schools have been piloting the FirstView App for several weeks and the service is not costing the district anything.

“Particularly given the delays we have experienced on some bus routes, the app will help parents and caregivers manage drop-off and pick-up more easily,” Tracey said.

She said the app doesn’t solve all communication problems and serious bus delays of 45 minutes or more will be communicated to families by email or text.

There will also be glitches, like when a bus GPS unit is malfunctioning, she said.

In discussing the bus driver shortage, Jackson said Friday that New Haven schools are short around 15 school bus drivers on any given day and they would need more additional bus drivers than that to cover for bus drivers who call out sick.

Elicker said he has heard frustrations from parents about the bus driver shortage and it's something he has experienced himself as a parent.

Local officials are working on solutions he said, and Tracey said there is a task force and they are also reaching out to the state.

Several Connecticut school districts have announced that they will be using the app as well. Among them are Region 15, which is implementing the app, and the Darien Public Schools website says it activated the app in September.

Learn more about the app here.

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