Frequently Asked Questions
The bus goes right down my street. Why can’t the bus stop at my house?
Bus stops are centrally located for all students. In most cases we try to use intersections which are easy to locate and where motorists are more alert to pedestrians. The District attempts to keep the number of stops minimized thus keeping the buses moving and reducing ride times. Stopping at every driveway inconveniences the motoring public causing them to become impatient trying to get around the bus and compromising safety.
I can’t see the stop from my house. Can’t the stop be closer?
Unfortunately not everyone will be able to see the stop from their house. We transport over 5,000 public school students each day. It is not feasible to put all the stops in sight range. Parents must use good judgment by either going to the stop with the child or working with other families in the area to support safety.
What to do when your child does not arrive at the stop?
First, stay calm. Occasionally, for various reasons, children may still be at school, on a different bus, or remained on the bus. Contact your child’s school to inform them. If you cannot get through, contact First Student at 724.863.2262. If the line is busy, keep trying until you get through.
Is it possible to transport my child to or from a daycare rather than my home stop?
This is possible; however, it is governed by several rules. The daycare must be within the attendance area of the school being serviced. The buses will not travel outside the attendance border for childcare purposes. The daycare you are using should provide a list of students to our department. Additionally, it is important that your child know where they are going each day if it is a part-time service. Drivers cannot be responsible for knowing your child’s schedule.
I do not plan to regularly use transportation but want my child kept on the list. Is there a procedure I should follow?
If your child is the only one at the stop and will be riding rarely, we ask that you notify our department to have your child listed as “will ride when calling”. The bus will only come to your stop if you need service. You may call First Student the day before or that morning of if you allow ample time. First Student's phone is manned beginning at 5:30 a.m. 724.863.2262
There is split custody for my child. Can I get him/her assigned to two different buses?
Yes, but we can only list one primary stop. Contact the bus garage. We will determine a secondary stop and notify the driver. Both homes must be in the same school attendance area for transportation.
What should I do if I move during the school year?
It is important
that you make any address changes immediately after moving to a new
location within the District. The information you enter is passed on to
First Student and your child’s bus
number, pick-up location and time will be updated. CHANGE OF ADDRESS
SHOULD BE MADE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE SO YOUR CHILD'S TRANSPORTATION NEEDS
CAN BE UPDATED.
My child is a full day kindergarten student at a private/parochial school. Why are they offered only morning transportation? Non-public families are entitled to the same service as the public school. Norwin students are only provided one way service; to school for AM kindergarten and from school for PM kindergarten. Full day kindergarten students at Norwin are provided morning transportation only.
I want to send my child to a private school. Where can I send them and have busing service?
The school you select must be a not-for-profit school located within ten miles from the closest District border by main thorofare. Be aware that your child may experience a long ride depending upon how far and how many other students within the District are going to that school.
Why does my child have a seat assignment?
Seat assignments are a positive way for the ride to be consistent and safe. The driver or the school may institute seat assignments. This aids the driver with discipline and learning each student's name.
Why can't my child get off wherever he/she wants in the afternoon?
State law and the Transportation Office require a note, signed by the parent and school administrator, to alter the destination of students. A courtesy call to the coordinator of transportation from the school assists in the altered schedule. The note will be given first to the school, then to the driver. The driver will then turn in the note to the Transportation Office. This allows the drivers to focus on driving and safety instead of having to decide whether the student should be allowed to change their routing and get off with a friend or ride to a different neighborhood. This should be the decision of the parent. The driver has no other way to verify the parent has made this decision. This policy avoids confusion and the chance of students getting lost or running away.
How can my child ride home on another bus?
We discourage this from happening. Requests if absolutely necessary should be for childcare requirements only. Additional students riding cause disturbances in seat assignments and may create crowding issues.
If your child must ride another bus, the school principal should be notified via note to seek permission. There must be an open seat on the bus for approval to be granted. A One-Day Bus Pass Request form is available under the forms section of the Transportation website.
If the bus does not arrive, how long should my child wait at the bus stop?
Students should wait a minimum of 30 minutes before leaving the stop area. Use good judgment based on weather conditions.
Why is my child's bus late?
Weather, traffic, road construction, driver absenteeism, maintenance difficulties and unforeseen incidents are responsible for delays in the arrival of school buses in the morning and afternoon. When a regular driver is absent, a sub driver may be driving the route. The sub driver will run the route at a slightly different speed than the regular driver. That is why it is very important to be at your bus stop ten minutes before the stop time. Drivers check buses before their routes and sometimes find mechanical problems that can cause delays and require driving another bus for that day. This can cause the bus not to be running at the normal pace.
When the bus is running late, why don’t you call to inform the parents?
In most cases there simply is not enough time. With over eighty buses running at one time with as many as 30-70 students on each bus, it is difficult to focus on one vehicle to call 30-70 families or emergency contacts in such a short window of time. In the case of a breakdown, our focus is on getting a replacement vehicle to service the students as quickly as possible. Please know there is a bus on the way, and we will do everything humanly possible to transport your child to and from school in a timely manner every day.
Who is responsible for student behavior at bus stops?
The District is responsible to determine safe stop locations. Parents are responsible for their child's behavior at the stop. If inappropriate behavior is reported to the bus driver, they will turn this information over to the school for investigation.
Who handles discipline on the bus?The driver is the authority figure responsible for enforcing the safe transport rules. Bus safety rules are in the student handbooks and on the District's website. Riding the bus is a “privilege” not a right. Children who misbehave jeopardize the safety of others. This is why we have little tolerance for misbehavior on the bus. Unlike the classroom, it is not a place where we can “work through” certain behaviors. The driver can handle minor discipline problems speaking to students or reassigning seats. More serious issues are addressed at the school by the school principal. Misconduct forms may be submitted to the school by drivers. These may result in warning, reprimand, or removal from the bus. Why did you suspend my child from riding the bus?
Behavioral expectations on the school bus are much like those in the classroom. Then, factor in the mobility of that "classroom" and traffic, added noise, and the size of the "classroom"; and you have a potential catastrophe if there are not clear expectations and enforcement. The behavioral expectations on the bus revolve around the individual rights of every person on the bus, including the driver and the collective rights of students and driver as they pertains to SAFETY. Anything that jeopardizes the safety of individuals on the bus is viewed as serious. Most drivers have bus rules posted on the bus. When there is an infraction, a bus incident report is turned in to the school administrators, who are responsible for contacting the student and parent to solve the lack of compliance with bus expectations. The school administrator is solely responsible for consequences based on the incident as described by the driver and student. Most buses have video cameras, which sometimes can be used to verify incidents. Our goal is not to deny any student transportation to and from school, but we must maintain safety for all students and the driver.
How do you decide when school will be closed due to inclement weather? Who decides and how is the public notified?
Information about the closing or delaying of schools in the Norwin School District, due to any emergency, is broadcast over the following television stations: KDKA, WTAE and WPXI. The decision to delay or postpone school due to weather conditions is made as early as possible. If weather conditions deteriorate while school is in session, an early dismissal may occur.
The Norwin School District administration takes a team approach when making decisions about school delays and closures. That decision is based on safety first, using the best information available at the time the decision must be made. Standard sources of information may include, but are not limited t Accu-Weather, the National Weather Service, North Huntingdon Township Road Crews, the North Huntingdon Township Police, Irwin Borough Police, Irwin Borough Road Crews, PennDOT, the District’s Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds, and the District’s Coordinator of Student Transportation.
Additionally, input from the District’s busing contractor, First Student, is received after they have driven various roadways in the School District firsthand. This procedure normally begins at 4:30 a.m. so that a decision can be made if a delay or cancellation seems warranted. The District’s Coordinator of Student Transportation consults the representative from First Student to assess conditions.
The Superintendent may also consult with other Westmoreland County area school districts. The final decision is reached generally around 5 a.m. to inform media and affected District personnel.
Each decision regarding inclement weather is made on a case-by-case basis, and again, safety is the primary consideration in the decision. If parents remain concerned about the safety of their children after the District’s decision is made, they are encouraged to use their own judgment and to request an excused absence for their child when necessary.
The District values parent/guardian points of concern about the safety and welfare of children. Those shared concerns are taken seriously and are taken under advisement when making future decisions regarding school delays and cancellations.
Can I reach someone in the Transportation Department before 7 a.m.?
Yes, the Coordinator of Student Transportation for the district in available from 5:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m (724.515.3038). Staff at the First Student bus garage are available from 5:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday (724.863.2262). However, 6-8 a.m. is reserved for issues relating to that morning's transportation due to limited personnel. Regular business may be taken care of after 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.