Crosswalk K-12: Covid-19 Contact Tracing on School Buses



Have you heard of Crosswalk K12’s COVID-19 contact tracing?

With 2021 looming around the corner, it’s safe to say that every aspect of life has changed from COVID-19. School bus travel is no exception with new and improved contact tracing efforts. Now that social distancing is the new norm, school districts from across the nation have needed to revamp how students safely ride the bus without crossing paths with the virus.

Well, equipped with data and our School Transportation solution, this is where UniteGPS offers comprehensive contact tracing technology as part of Crosswalk K-12.

tablet preview crosswalk K-12
Crosswalk K-12 tablet

CAD/AVL solution for contact tracing

Let us introduce you to Crosswalk K-12, our customizable software redefining due diligence in the vertical market of student bus travel. Within the mobility solution is our student tracking feature originally intended for attendance purposes. Nowadays, school administrators like Renee Tibbott are also using this tool for COVID-19 contact tracing.

Yellow school bus fleet
Yellow bus fleet

“The student tracking is a wonderful feature, especially during this whole COVID thing,” said Tibbott, the transportation department secretary from West Delaware School District in Iowa. She is the official in charge of inputting student data into the program and formatting key fobs, in addition to working as an occasional substitute bus driver. 

”It really helps us be able to see where the kids are and if they were exposed or not… We even had a driver have it and we were able to see who was on the bus that day.”

To the reassurance of both parents and educators, the Crosswalk K-12 solution not only assists schools in recording students’ bus movements on reduced capacity but also COVID contract tracing. How, may you ask? Through the NFC card reader on the tablet!

Whether boarding or disembarking, tracking solely revolves around students swiping their school ID through the NFC reader or using a key fob. In turn, this prompts the GPS system to record a student’s whereabouts whenever they swipe their card.

Later on, this allows administrators like Tibbott to review the precise roster to discern those potentially exposed to the virus. All the while, she can cross her Ts and dot her Is by notifying at-risk students more efficiently.

An extremely important feature providing flexibility and accuracy is the ability for a driver to click on students’ photos on the tablet. Drivers generally do this when students don’t have their cards when boarding or alighting. Ultimately, this manual action ensures accurate data considering that 20% of students don’t carry their cards everyday.

Getting through the learning curves

Another administrator using Crosswalk K-12 COVID-19 contact tracing is Marc Fink, the transportation director at Oregon School District in Wisconsin. Since COVID-19 struck, Fink has divided K-2 students into AM and PM sessions going four days a week while spending Wednesdays at home.

While some families in this district south of Madison embrace digital education and others yearn for the status quo, Fink stresses that the reception to student tracking even from the beginning has been mixed.

“We’ve had some hiccups and learning curves along the way,” said Fink, who originally needed to convince students that they weren’t being tracked constantly by their RFID (radio-frequency identification) in their fob. In the beginning, his school couldn’t get accurate bus data since many students were removing this chip from the device.

All in all, it took one year to convince students that they weren’t being followed or constantly monitored. Yet in a public health crisis, Crosswalk K12’s ability to streamline contract tracing is what’s winning more people over.

“We only know where they’re at when they scan on or off the bus… But it’s finally starting to pick up, we’re starting to get more scans and more accurate results daily.”

Even Fink’s school district has had students exposed to COVID. Like Tibbott, knowing the precise attendance of bus ridership has allowed him to directly notify concerned families and staff accordingly. Meaning, nobody really panics in the process. 

Fink also says that the bus drivers have been receptive to the technology despite occasional challenges with new technology. Luckily, both drivers and students have embraced this software thanks to the Crosswalk K-12 COVID-19 contact tracing features.

“That’s not why I’m doing this. We’re doing this to help families, the bus drivers, and to keep us as safe as possible.”

Conclusion for Crosswalk K-12 COVID-19 contact tracing

Since both public and school bus routes are running on reduced capacity during COVID, now more than ever is a critical time for administrators to remain committed to providing students access to education. At times, bus service is the only viable way for learners to attend class. This is especially true if their parents aren’t around to drive them. 

Well, with a program like Crosswalk K-12, schools can start taking preventative measures against COVID-19 to new levels. On top of student tracking, this software can also effectively document sanitation procedures through its pre and post-trip inspection features. This is particularly useful for school districts still coordinating field trips. 

Now with more rules and regulations to follow, though, affiliated schools with UniteGPS can also better handle field trip preparations through Crosswalk K-12. For example, the initial administrative request to the superintendent for approval.

All things considered, mobility solutions like Crosswalk K-12 yield massive potential in today’s complicated world. For better or worse, it has taken a pandemic like COVID-19 for us to realize Crosswalk’s potential with contact tracing.

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