February has us in the thick of Winter, and for parents, that can mean one thing: thwarted schedules due to 2hr snow delays in the morning, and unexpected afternoon early dismissals with cancelations of all after school programs.
For parents of small children who cannot walk home, or stay at home by themselves, this can mean a thwarting of schedules. For parents of older kids, this can mean wondering how or what will occupy their children's time, especially in the afternoon, when after school activities are canceled. People who work near Main Street know that after school foot traffic really picks up after 3pm when kids get out of school.
One reason for a bus backup plan can be busing your child to a designated daycare center. If weather conditions are such that don't have you worried about actually having your child on the road because there is not one drop of snow or rain - as have been the conditions of most weather situations of the 2hr delays and early school dismissals for the 2016/2017 Beacon City School District - then you may fare better with a busing back up plan.
Says Jane Savage, a parent of older kids in the Newburgh District: "Snow delays and unplanned early dismissals definitely impacts the family, but we have back up plans. Like sending the kids to the neighbor's house so that my husband and I can both get to work. Having older children and delays are a bigger impact because you want to make sure your kids make the bus versus getting home early to just let themselves in."
Many families in Beacon do not have bus pickups at home because they live within the bus zone, where the District feels that the kids can walk to school. So parents of young children must drive the kids to school. Relying on neighbors can be difficult if those neighbors are also working parents and need to be at work, or are out of town themselves. A rotation plan can of course go into effect where everyone rotates who is going to cancel their meetings or go into work late.
Delays can have a far reaching domino effect on other people, which can be especially frustrating on days when there is not one drop of forecasted precipitation. Says Meredith Ginn Carr, a mother in Fairfax Country, Virginia: "For us, a 2 hour delay really knocks off our routine and my 1st grader usually has an off day at school on those days. Last year when I was pregnant and in the 2nd trimetser, I had 4 doctors appointments effected by 2 hour delays. Basically, if I had scheduled a morning appointment, it guaranteed a delay."
Busing Backup Plan
You will need two things for your Busing Backup Plan in Beacon:
- A supervised place for the bus to drop off your child. If that is a daycare center like Rose Hill or Kids Place, then the center needs to have your child's medical and all forms on file that they would for any enrolled child. If your child goes to Beacon's After School Program through the Recreation Center, that program is held in the public elementary schools and also gets canceled during early dismissals. So, having your child enrolled in at least one day of after-care at another facility that does not close down when the Beacon City School District does, which has happened on sunny days, may be a good idea.
- Fill out the Transportation Request Form from the Beacon City School District's redesigned website, that makes forms like this easy to find. You can also click here to be taken directly to the page that contains the PDF of the form. If your child is going to a private daycare center or school, you will need to fill out this form each year. The deadline to re-submit the form is April.
Busing for Emergency Drop-Offs
On the form mentioned above, there is not a box that indicates if you need it for an as-needed basis. There is only the option to select every Monday, or every certain day of the week, or All Days. Write in what you need. As-needed can include pre-planned emergency evacuation drills, unplanned weather delays, carbon monoxide leaks, etc. You must designate what you want done with your child in instances like these, with your choices being: Walk, Bus, Pickup.
You will fax the bus form to Gail Morgan in the Registration Department. Once she processes, the Transportation Department is supposed to call you to confirm that your child is on the list. If you don't get a call, you could call them, or you could walk your form into the Registrar's office at 10 Education Drive, and have them fax it to the Transportation Department while you wait, to make sure that they did receive it and did process it. Then you'll know the only department left you need to followup with is the Transportation Department.