The challenges of this global pandemic are leading to long-term improvements in education. In the aftermath of face masks, hand sanitizer, toilet paper shortages and social distancing, transportation technologies have evolved to provide off-campus connectivity, increased safety, reduced operational expenses and improved communications.
Various funding sources have been introduced to address the increased expenses of education during this global pandemic. The CARES Act and subsequent ESSER Funds were designed to support COVID-19 response efforts and can be applied to a wide range of allowable expenses.
The Emergency Connectivity Fund, part of the American Rescue Plan, is aimed directly at providing connectivity off-campus for schools and libraries. These funds and others are providing the necessary capital for cost-effective, sustainable transportation technology solutions.
When COVID-19 surfaced and schools began closing in March 2020, we were immediately confronted with another crisis: connectivity outside of school.
16.9 million students do not have the high-speed internet access at home they need to fully participate in online learning.
– Jessica Rosenworcel, FCC Acting Chairwoman
The average student commute in the U.S. is 1 ½ hours per day – that’s nearly 8 hours every week. Students involved with sports or other extracurricular activities can accumulate an additional 3-6 hours on the bus each week.
The Premier Wireless ConnectED Bus Connectivity solution provides wi-fi on the bus, turning travel time into extended learning time. Students can complete assignments, study for tests, and turn in assignments during daily commutes or when traveling for extracurricular activities and field trips. Students learn time management skills and feel better prepared for the school day which translates into better test scores and improved student success.
Internet access on the bus also enables real-time camera access to on-board cameras and DVRs. Don’t wait for buses to return to the bus depot to go through the time and labor-intensive process to pull camera footage. In critical emergency situations, real-time camera access can save precious time and save lives.
The ConnectED Bus Connectivity solution is powered by the Peplink MAXTransit CAT 18 rugged router providing the fastest speeds, up to 1.2 Gbps, and is designed specifically to withstand the dirt, vibrations and extreme temperatures of school bus transportation.
The bus Wi-Fi is partitioned to provide bandwidth for student internet access as well as dedicated bandwidth to allow for real-time camera access. The dedicated bandwidth for each purpose keeps students occupied and reduces the number of disruptive incidents on the bus, resulting in happier bus drivers.
GPS & Student Tracking
ConnectED Bus Crosswalk K-12 includes GPS, student tracking, routing, turn-by-turn directions, and digital workflows. It allows you to manage your transportation department effortlessly from either a desktop computer or mobile device.
GPS and routing features provide real-time visibility to increase safety and improve operational efficiencies. Monitor mileage, bus speeds, locations, and stops for your entire fleet with updates every five seconds. Quickly change bus routes and send updates to your drivers in response to traffic or weather-related incidents. Easily create temporary or secondary routes to adjust for blended learning schedules.
Audible turn-by-turn directions keep your drivers and your students safe on the road. This hands-free solution ensures that substitute and new drivers are properly equipped to provide the safest possible transportation, even as routes change at a moment’s notice.
Student tracking streamlines attendance reporting and reduces incidents of “missing” children. Student names and pictures are displayed on-screen to prevent students from boarding the wrong bus or being left at the wrong bus stop.
Digital records maintain a history of the date, time and location so “missing” children can be quickly and easily located. A parent app is included to provide peace of mind and help parents and students anticipate the arrival of the bus.
ConnectED Bus Crosswalk K-12 also provides a series of digital forms and workflows to improve operational efficiencies. Field Trip Management allows bus requests to be created, routed for approval, and scheduled online.
Pre & Post Trip Inspections ensure that drivers follow the proper procedures for inspecting the bus before and after each route. Health & Sanitation Management provides easy-to-follow processes to safeguard your students and drivers from COVID-19 and other illnesses.
Submitting state and federally mandated reports is easy with ConnectED Bus Crosswalk K-12. All historical data is stored in the cloud-based system to allow you to run reports quickly and painlessly, as needed.
ConnectED Bus Communication improves the exchange of information between dispatchers, drivers, maintenance, emergency responders, district leaders and the front office. Push-To-Talk (PTT) communication ensures the fastest, most reliable communication for daily operations and time-sensitive information.
Each department within your district has distinct needs and ConnectED Bus Communication addresses them all. PTT can be enabled on smart devices, both standard and rugged, to meet the usability requirements of each user group or individual. Bus drivers, specifically, require a vehicle mount and palm mic to ensure compliance with state and federal laws.
ConnectED Bus Communication includes Mobile Device Management (MDM) to easily monitor and manage all your devices from one remote dashboard. Additionally, the MDM allows for greater compliance and control of your data.
Dollars & $ense
The funds that are currently available and anticipated in the future make the ConnectED Bus a cost-effective, sustainable solution. ConnectED Bus Connectivity is fundable through June 2022 with the $7.1 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund. ConnectED Bus Crosswalk K-12 and ConnectED Bus Communication are fundable with ESSER Funds.
Contact us today to learn more about the ConnectED Bus and how we can help you get the necessary funding for this cost-effective, sustainable solution.