According to USA Today, US K-12 schools began the 2021-2022 academic year with 55,000 lesser bus drivers than the past two years, as Covid-19 worsened an already-existing bus driver shortage. To address transportation concerns, several districts have implemented smartphone applications that handle lengthy parent pickup queues and alert parents of transit changes and dismissal processes, among other purposes.
With schools searching for solutions to these logistical problems and parents opting for vehicle lines rather than district transportation options, PikMyKid owner and CEO Saravana Pat Bhava report that the app has seen substantial growth in recent months.
What Is PikMyKid?
Bhava said his program, which he developed 6 years ago, has expanded to a million monthly customers spanning 2,000 schools throughout all 50 states as even more parents decide to pick up their kids rather than deal with packed buses and transportation delays.
For school districts that subscribe with PikMyKid and integrate the technology into their programs, the software operates by enclosing the school with a geofence. Teachers may observe in real-time who is in line and in what order when parents reach the boundary and enable the app on their cellphones. Teachers then dismiss children in turn, notifying parents of their child's dismissal.
With the app's development, Bhava said, the firm recently expanded its IT personnel for technical assistance. When questioned about bad evaluations concerning app issues or performance, he said that recent expansion necessitated greater debugging.
Maria Edvalson, the co-founder of the PickUp Patrol app, said there were hardly any alternatives for K-12 school dismissal applications on the market about a decade ago when her business debuted theirs. Schools now have a choice of applications to select from QManager, School Dismissal Manager, as well as others, in both small rural and major metropolitan districts.
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The Need For PikMyKid
Edvalson highlighted that dismissal applications such as hers are largely intended to digitize some of the obligations of school administrators and other school personnel, whose workloads have grown as parents increasingly rely on schools for critical transportation information during the shortage.
Along with applications for organizing pickup queues, schools are using platforms to keep parents informed about bus route modifications and delays caused by the necessity for longer routes owing to driver shortages.
As per WINK News, parents in Florida's Collier and Lee counties who still depend on bus fleets have become used to delays as a result of the scarcity, resulting in the use of a "Where's the Bus" app to determine expected arrival times to and from school. Meanwhile, schools continue to recruit drivers in order to avoid creating longer bus routes and overcrowded buses, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, increase the risk of Covid-19 exposure.
Curt Macysyn the administrative director of the National School Transportation Association, said K-12 transit is not "immune to the employment market circumstances" that are hurting multiple other job sectors, adding that many drivers quit the K-12 transit industry owing to health issues.
According to him, the process of recruiting, educating, and qualifying drivers varies by state and might take between six and twelve weeks.
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