BRADENTON, Fla. — Manatee County students will soon need to scan an ID badge to get on and off the school bus.
- Manatee County schools test bus ID cards with scanners
- ID cards will be linked to an app for parents to track students
- Scanners will start with 50 buses in August, then expand in January
The pilot program kicks off in August, with roughly 50 school buses. One elementary, one middle, and one high school will be participating for the first semester of the school year. In January, the district hopes to expand to all county school buses.
School transportation officials say this will add another layer of security for students and parents.
At the start of the year, participating students will be issued an ID card. They will then scan that card each time they enter and exit the school bus. The ID numbers will be linked to an app that parents can access, so they can keep tabs on their student in real time.
"When the student gets on the bus and scans, on the app it'll show they just got on the bus,” explained Won Oh, Asst. Director of Transportation.
Due to a shortage of bus drivers and routes that can change due to sick calls, this provides a way for the district to have an accurate count of all students picked up. It will also cut down on the amount of students getting on the wrong bus.
The district is expecting a few kinks as they roll this new technology out, like delays in bus routes.
"There's always going to be that learning curve, that learning process. So there is going to be a delay in the beginning. And in our elementary, I don't think we're giving them enough credit. Even the kindergarteners, they're smart. They're probably do a better job than high school kids in my opinion, because they know how to follow the rules, and they just scan on and off," Oh said.
The project will cost roughly $56,000.