School District 8 is piloting tracking cards that students will use when they enter and exit buses. Photo: Mike Chouinard

School District 8 is piloting tracking cards that students will use when they enter and exit buses. Photo: Mike Chouinard

School District 8 schools to pilot student tracking cards for buses

Students in Salmo and Crawford Bay will be issued the tech

School District 8 is set to pilot a program that will track when students enter and exit buses, which it says will help make sure children don’t get lost.

Next week, kindergarten to Grade 12 students at Crawford Bay Elementary and Secondary, Salmo Elementary and Salmo Secondary will begin receiving digital cards they will use to tap a scanner on district buses.

Janet Wall, the district’s manager of operations and transportation, said the program was initially considered as a way to produce accurate ridership information for COVID-19 contract tracing.

But, she added, there are other benefits that will be useful after the pandemic ends.

“When a student perhaps signs onto the bus and then gets off at the wrong stop or gets on a bus that’s not their assigned bus, I can do a search and it will tell me what school or where Johnny got on, or where he got off,” she said.

The technology by Seattle-based Zonar Systems will log the times each card is scanned, as well as which bus it is used on. The information is stored on servers in Canada that can be instantly accessed by the district.

Wall said no personal information is stored by the company, only the ID number associated with the student’s card.

On Wednesday, some SD8 buses were delayed by a wind storm that blew debris onto roads and highways.

Wall said if the tracking system had been in place, the district would know immediately which students were impacted and could quickly communicate with families.

The current system used by the district, she said, only shows how many students should be on a bus, not how many actually are in real time.

“On our busing program, it tells us that between [the driver’s] first pickup and last pickup he should have 10 kids on the bus,” said Wall.

“But this program will tell us that actually only two kids got on the bus. So we can contact those two families right away instead of going through all 10 kids saying the bus is stuck on the road.”

Wall said there’s the possibility an app will be made available to parents to track their kids if the district adopts the program.

If a student loses their card, the first replacement is free with later cards costing families $5 each. Wall added students won’t be denied a ride if they don’t have their card handy.

The program will be piloted through February. If it is adopted by the district, Wall said SD8 will pay approximately $2,000 per month for the service.

@tyler_harper | tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusEducation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Town of Creston was added to the SeeClickFix mobile app earlier this week. Photo: Aaron Hemens
Town of Creston looking to improve response to non-emergency requests through new program

Through the SeeClickFix mobile app, residents can submit requests for issues such as pot-holes, graffiti, defective streetlights and more. Users can include a photo and pin the location of the issue to the app’s GPS feature.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Tia Wayling is the recreation services coordinator with the Regional District of Central Kootenay. File photo
Rec Perspectives: Use Family Day to Restore Well-Being

“While the usual celebrations and gatherings are not happening, the whole premise behind this fairly-new appointed statutory holiday is so families can take a break from hectic schedules and spend some quality time together sometime during the long weekend.”

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. File photo.
MP Morrison calls Keystone XL permit cancellation ‘devastating news’

Kootenay-Columbia MP reacts to the Conservative Party’s removal of a controversial Ontario MP

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Most Read