An updated policy throughout West Virginia requires parents and guardians to be present at both school bus pickup and drop-off locations for students in kindergarten through third grade.
Policy 4336 states that “parents are responsible for providing supervision for all K-3 students at bus stops until the bus arrives for both pickup and delivery,” according to the West Virginia School Bus Transportation Policy and Procedures Manual.
The policy originally stated that parents must only supervise kindergarten or first grade children at the bus stops, but was updated and extended in preparation for the 2018-2019 school year.
It is the responsibility of each individual county within West Virginia to decide how to interpret the rule and decipher what constitutes appropriate supervision. There is no description in the policy on whether supervision from an older sibling, neighbor or another adult/family member would be allowed, or what the bus drivers are to do if no supervisor is present.
There is also no clarification to the rule stating whether or not the supervisor has to be physically present with the children at the bus stop, of if they could be within eyesight. It is up to each county to clarify the exact expectations. However, the counties do have the authorization to discontinue bus services to households if no supervision is present at the time of either pickup or drop-off.
Counties are still unsure of how the policy will play out and the direction of the supervision. In the past, the policy was not as strictly enforced, but with the policy change, it is expected to be addressed more seriously in the up-coming future.
Districts will have personnel notify the families of the counties protocol of Policy 4336, through both a phone call and news release prior to the first day of school on Aug. 20.