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DeKalb District 428 to offer bus-tracking mobile app for parents

DeKALB – Parents in District 428 will soon have the opportunity to track the bus schedules for their children, and get mobile updates ahead of snow closures or weather delays.

D-428 Superintendent Jamie Craven said the FirstView parent bus tracking app will help the district reach out to parents more quickly, and referenced a recent incident where a bus was delayed in Cortland and district officials were unable to contact parents efficiently.

“A couple weeks ago, we had a train stopped on the tracks out in Cortland, which caused a delay,” Craven said Tuesday. “Communicating that quickly and giving parents the time of day was difficult for us. Now we have this particular app where we can identify students on that route, parents using this app would know the buses are delayed.”

The app, which will be provided at no additional cost to the district since it’s an extra service courtesy of First Student Inc., the district’s school bus provider, will give parents real-time bus tracking through GPS tracking which is updated every 15 seconds, said Tiffani Ingram, FirstView Implementation Specialist. Parents or guardians can also see email or in-app alerts, estimated time of arrival, and receive confirmation when their child’s bus arrives at its destination.

“They can see the bus move on the map, they can see the time update, so it really gives them an inside look at where the bus is just for their students’ stop,” Ingram said.

The mobile program, which can be downloaded through the Apple store or on Google Play, is being piloted through a small group of parents, Craven said. The district will roll out the program district wide in the next few weeks.

The app is also meant to reach families in the district’s more rural areas, Ingram said.

A feature of the app includes GPS data retrieval that will specifically accommodate for bad cell phone reception in rural areas, she said.

Following last year’s polar vortex winter weather, and a historic Halloween snowfall, Craven said the app will also allow parents to prepare their children in case of longer wait times.

“If in the event the buses are running a little behind or if we get another polar vortex, parents can then hold the kids in their car at some so they’re not standing out for for 10, 12 minutes in brutal weather,” Craven.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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