School Bus Safety and Bus Information

From the Pioneer Tribune, 9-10-18

Notes from the desk of Maryann Boddy, MAS Superintendent.

School is back in session and that means more traffic on the roads. That increased traffic includes our Manistique Area School buses, transporting students to and from school. Getting our students to and from school safely is something we take very seriously. For that reason, here are a few things to keep in mind as our students are going to and from school.

Research has proven that riding a school bus is the safest way for students to get to and from school. School buses are designed with student safety in mind, from the flashing lights to the high backed bench seats. School bus drivers are also highly trained in safety processes and procedures.

Motorists are reminded to stay alert when traveling near a school bus. School buses stop frequently, including at all railroad crossings and for student loading and unloading. At least 200 feet prior to stopping for a student pickup or drop off the bus driver will turn on the amber flashing lights indicating an upcoming stop. Motorists should prepare to stop once the amber lights start flashing. The red flashing lights indicate the door of the bus is opening and students will be loading or unloading. Motorists must come to a complete stop, at least 20 feet from a bus with its flashing red lights on. It is illegal to pass a school bus when the flashing red lights are on. When the red flashing lights have turned off motorists should proceed with caution. Motorists who pass a bus with flashing red lights on can be fined up to $500.

Keeping safety in mind, schools are required to hold 10 emergency drills annually. Those drills include 6 fire drills, 2 lock down drills and 2 tornado drills. Those drills are done at all schools in partnership with public safety. This year, Manistique Area Schools is expanding on the required emergency drills and will be holding 2 bus emergency drills.

The first bus emergency drill is planned for Tuesday, September 25. All seven busses will stop at predetermined locations on their way to the school to hold safety drills in cooperation with local law enforcement. Manistique Public Safety, the Schoolcraft County Sheriff and the Michigan State Police will be on location for the drills and to support and reinforce the lessons taught by the bus drivers.

Students on the buses will be taught procedures to follow if an emergency were to occur. The safety lessons will include students learning how to open the emergency exits and evacuate from the rear of the bus. We highly encourage all busing students to ride their assigned bus Tuesday, September 25, to be part of the safety lessons. Students should also dress appropriately and wear proper shoes to participate in the drills.

The bus lessons will cause the students to be approximately 30 minutes late for school. This is a non-chargeable school absence and will not count in the students’ absence totals for the school year. Breakfast will also be held for an extra 30 minutes that morning to ensure that all students have the opportunity to participate in the school breakfast program.

If you have any questions about the planned bus safety drill, or any of the required safety drills, please contact Maryann Boddy at 906-341-4330.

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