Need a ride? Those switching to in-class learning in September must register for bus routes

The deadline for school bus registration is closing in and transportation services are asking parents/guardians to register their kids sooner rather than later.

"If they’re wanting transportation and they opted out, they are going to have to go through their school to opt back in so that we can set them up for September,” says Gabrielle McMillan, general manger with Windsor-Essex Student Transportation Services.

School boards across Ontario have already announced the return to the classroom come September, but ultimately the decision lies with the parents.

“We decided awhile ago they would be going back to school next year,” says father of two, Adam Jarett, from London, Ont.

If parents/guardians are still undecided about the return, McMillan advises them to register ahead of time anyways.

‘Time is of the essence…even if a parent is not sure if they want to go virtual or send their child on the bus, if they think they might, they are better to sign up and if they don’t want it in September it is much easier to take them off then it is to put them on.”

McMillan says that bus routes are being mapped out for September, so preregistration is key to ensure that students will have a ride to school.

“We are hoping (parents and guardians) have gotten to their schools already, if not by the end of the week…If they ask us at the end of August, it may be awhile till we can get them back on the bus because it may result in a number of route changes depending on the volume we have in September.”

McMillan says safety is top priority, however the team has not yet been notified of what COVID-19 protocols may look like this school year when it comes to buses.

Some parents have mixed feelings about the return.

“We decided this year to go with remote learning. Timothy is not of the age where he can be vaccinated yet, so we just felt it is a good idea for him because he has a precursor to asthma, because of the breathing issues he could incur, we decided to err on the side of caution,’ says mother Jenny Jarvis.

“I feel like as long as they are wearing their masks and they are washing their hands properly and usiing sanitizer, with all the vaccinations that are going on I think it's fairly safe,’ say parents Jessica and Shawn Bea.

The deadline for bus registration in London, Ont., is July 15. In Windsor-Essex, McMillan is asking people to register by July 2 -- adding that sooner is better than later.