Dear Norwood Families –
Over the first few weeks of school, our transportation with First Student has been rough to put it mildly. First Student has been using drivers from their Springfield location to help the services here in the Bartonville area. As I mentioned previously in a letter, it may get worse and that does seem to be the case beginning tomorrow. Effective Wednesday, August 31, 2022 First Student is losing many of those drivers from Springfield as the Springfield Schools are opening. Norwood has been made aware from First Student that we will not have a Bus 27 Route also known as Yellow Bus for the foreseeable future.
The plan for Wednesday and the foreseeable future (barring any setbacks) is as follows:
Norwood Elementary Students:
Bus 26 is scheduled to run 10 minutes early for its regular route and then will add pick up to those in the Deluxe addresses. They believe this bus will be on time for around 7:30 drop-off at Norwood Elementary.
Bus 27 is out of operation at this time
Bus 28 should not have any impact. It is a Springfield driver and may not have a monitor on the bus to help navigate the roads. Potential delays in navigation of the area.
Bus 29 is scheduled to run 10-15 minutes early for its regular route and then will add pick ups to those that were serviced by Bus 27 in the Norwood area.
Norwood Primary Students:
Bus 26 (Red) will run its normal route once the drop off is complete at Norwood Elementary and this route will add the additional pick up at the Deluxe addresses for Bus 27 (Yellow).
Bus 27 (Yellow) is out of operation at this time
Bus 28 (Green) should not have any impact. It is a Springfield driver and may not have a monitor on the bus to help navigate the roads. Potential delays in navigation of the area.
Bus 29 (Blue) is scheduled to run its normal route once the drop off is complete at Norwood Elementary and this route will also add additional pick-up in the portion of Norwood that was covered by Bus 27 (Yellow).
As you can see in the above plan, it may not seem like too many changes, but I would be prepared for delays throughout most routes. Many of the routes for Norwood Primary School pick up are dependent on the buses dropping off at Norwood Elementary on time. As far as drop off times after-school, students are supposed to ride on the bus that will be picking them up in the morning There may be delays in arrivals home as the drivers adjust to the new route. If you are able to drop off and/or pick up your children, that may be the best plan. I understand that is not realistic for all of our families.
On the bright side, First Student has seen an increase in applicants and have candidates in the pipeline completing their bus licenses, but this is a lengthy process. If anyone is interested, they are hiring drivers and monitors. You may apply at https://workatfirst.com/.
While it is not certain, I do not see Norwood running four bus routes as we have in the past anytime in the near future. Our administrative team will continue to work with First Student to develop a plan and adjust routes accordingly with our three buses. Within these plans, it may require earlier pick up times and longer routes home, but First Student is not staffed to provide the typical services we saw before the pandemic. Please be patient as we navigate these obstacles. We will continue to provide bus alerts and updates as we get news from First Student.
I apologize for the inconveniences this has caused and will continue to cause many of you over this school year. We share in your frustrations and concerns that we are having with transportation.
Mr. Jake Flowers, Superintendent