SAU 70 Transportation
Welcome to the 2023-2024 school year!
We share this document annually as a reminder. It outlines the responsibilities for all parties involved in the safe operation of all school buses operating in SAU 70.
Please be advised both Hanover and Norwich routes have been updated.
SAU 70 Transportation
Hartland parents should check their emails for specifics on the bus option for 2023-24.
- School Bus Rider Responsibilities
- School Bus Discipline Procedures
- School Bus Administrative Guidelines
- School Bus Driver Responsibilities
- Kindergarten Transportation
School Bus Rider Responsibilities
- Students will sit in suggested locations/sections by their grade levels.
- Riders and drivers will treat others with courtesy and respect at all times.
- The use of profanity, vulgar, obscene, or abusive language will not be tolerated this includes communicating with others outside the bus in any way (signs, gestures, faces, etc.) and behavior of this nature may result in expulsion from the bus.
- Fighting, shoving, or bullying others on the bus, or while waiting for the bus, will not be tolerated and may result in expulsion from the bus.
- Throwing anything on the bus or out of the windows is prohibited and will result in expulsion.
- Talking should be carried on in conversational tones so the bus driver can be heard at all times.
- Students are prohibited from using tobacco or vaping products, alcohol, drugs or any controlled substance on the bus.
- Students shall refrain from eating, drinking and gum chewing on the bus.
- Students shall not carry hazardous materials, nuisance items or animals onto the bus.
- Students shall not have possession under/or use of weapons or articles used as weapons (including rubber bands, pea showers, sharp pencils, etc.) while on the bus.
- Students must comply immediately with any request or suggestion from the driver pertaining to safe pupil transportation.
- Defacement of or destruction to the bus will not be tolerated. Any vandalism of the bus or bus seats will be billed to the parent/guardian of the student responsible for the damage.
- Aisles are to be left free of books, lunch boxes, coats, and other objects at all times. Students should sit totally in their seats, and not put their arms, legs, etc., into the aisles, except when inadequate space makes this impossible.
- Students must remain seated at all times when the bus is moving; arms and heads must be inside the bus at all times. All of the contracted buses are equipped with seat belts for use by students. Although seat belt use on buses is not presently required by NH, VT, or federal mandate, many agree the best practice is to fasten the seat belts while the bus is in motion.
- Students may be required to walk up to one-and one-half miles to a bus stop, or two miles to school.
- Students must be ready to board the bus at least five minutes prior to its scheduled stop. In order to keep all of the students on time, drivers are not to wait for pupils who are not present at the designated stop times. Pupils should not crowd onto the street or road waiting for the bus; instead, they should line up and enter the bus in an orderly fashion when it arrives. Middle and high school students boarding buses in front of the Richmond School in the afternoon should stand behind the white line until the buses have come to a complete stop at the curb.
- Students must board the bus in an orderly and courteous manner, go immediately to their suggested seating area, sit down, and secure their personal belongings.
- Students loading and departing from the bus will do so from the front door of the bus. If the road must be crossed, students will wait for the driver’s signal and then (using caution) will cross at least 10 feet in FRONT of the bus.
- All school rules are in effect on the school bus for transportation to and from school or any school event including co-curricular and/or athletics.
School Bus Discipline Procedures
Discipline will be handled according to the following procedures:
- For unacceptable behavior in the judgment of the driver, the driver will complete a Bus Conduct Report form, which notifies the principal of the problem.
- The principal will speak to the student(s) and, if appropriate, speak to or send a letter home to the parents. The principal will advise the bus contractor of action taken on each conduct report submitted by drivers.
- A serious offense, or behavior which creates a safety hazard, may result in a suspension of up to two weeks, at the discretion of the principal. The driver may insist on a suspension for a student whose behavior creates a safety hazard.
- Unusually serious offenses may result in permanent suspension from the bus. If this action becomes necessary, the principal will notify the parents and the Superintendent in writing. The actual suspension will be made by the Superintendent, with the right of appeal to the School Board.
- If a student is suspended from the bus as a consequence of a bus conduct report, or of a reported poor behavior on the bus, the punishment will take effect the following morning. However, if at the discretion of the school administration the safety of other children is in question, the student may be suspended from the bus immediately. In that case, an attempt will be made to contact parents to make other transportation arrangements for the suspended student. If the parent cannot be contacted, the school will arrange for the student to be transported home only on the day suspension occurs. Thereafter, it is the responsibility of the parents to arrange for their students' transportation to and from school. If a suspension occurs on one bus, it includes ridership on all route buses.
School Bus Administrative Guidelines
- Transportation will be provided to eligible students from a designated stop near their home to school, and from school to that stop. Tuition students will be allowed to ride only if the student is pre-registered and if there is room on the bus. Students will only be picked up and/or dropped off at their designated stop.
- Bus stops in rural areas will be at least 500 feet apart.
- Inspected school vehicles driven by certified school bus drivers will be used for all regular pupil transportation routes. Where possible, inspected vehicles and certified drivers will also be used on field and athletic trips, and for special education requirements. In some cases, however, it may be necessary or prudent to use personal or rented vehicles on such trips; in such cases, the drivers of private or rented vehicles must present evidence of insurance.
- All students will only be discharged at school or their designated stop, unless other arrangements have been made and approved through the school principal’s office.
- Kindergarten and 1st grade students will not be discharged from buses unless the child's parent, guardian, or other adult designated by the parent or guardian, is present to take charge of the child. Exceptions to this policy will be made only upon the written authorization of the parent or guardian. Depending upon locations, conditions or other extenuating circumstances, parents may be asked to meet 2nd graders as well.
- The majority of students should be on the bus as little as possible; routes should be designed so that the bulk of the students are picked up last in the morning, and discharged first in the afternoon.
- Only authorized students are to be transported on school buses. Parents, friends, teachers, etc., are not to ride the bus on regular routes. However, teachers, coaches, or other authorized chaperones may accompany field and athletic trips.
- In determining the location of bus stops, primary consideration will be given to safety including the age of the riders and proximity to nearest pickup. Secondary considerations will include fairness, convenience, and availability of budgeted funds. No stop will be established which, in the opinion of the school administration, will unreasonably compromise the safety of students who are expected to use that stop. In cases where the safety of a stop is questioned, the NH Department of Education and NH Department of Safety's School Bus Stop Evaluation Criteria will be used and/or the local police chief may be consulted.
- Small musical instruments which students can hold in their laps, or can put under their seats on the bus, will be allowed. Larger musical instruments, or other large items which require the use of another seat on the bus, may not be allowed, depending on how crowded the bus is. Items requiring the use of the center aisle will not be allowed. Effective April 2017, we are allowing smaller athletic equipment such as hockey and lacrosse sticks, tennis rackets, and baseball/softball bats to be carried on the buses. The ability to bring these items is a privilege not a right and must be accompanied by strict behavior. The equipment must be secured in an upright position, beside or between the rider's legs. The equipment should not be flailing about, poking the roof or bounding up and down off the floor, lying on the floor, impeding the aisle way, or infringing on another rider’s space. Any behavior of this type will be reported by the drivers to the Administration and will result in the privilege being revoked. At this time, skis, poles, and equipment bags such as hockey and golf are too large to accommodate.
- Questions from parents about school bus matters should normally be directed to the appropriate school principal. If the question deals with day-to-day issues concerning discipline, behavior, and unusual daily circumstances (late or early bus, missed stop, etc.), it should be referred to the appropriate school principal. If the questions deal with the bus contractor (equipment, driver qualifications and behavior, etc.), or ongoing issues relate to routes, schedules, stops, etc., it should be referred to the Business Administrator. In all cases, the Superintendent, and then the School Board, can be involved if the questions are not resolved.
School Bus Driver Responsibilities
- Drivers are expected to exhibit the same levels of respect and decorum, which are expected of the riders.
- Buses will not be backed up while students are still outside the bus.
- Where possible, students will be picked up and discharged on the proper side of the road, so they are not required to cross a road.
- If a child is on the wrong bus, he or she will be returned to the school at the end of the route; unless other arrangements can be made. If, for any reason at any time, there is no one at the school who is able to assume temporary responsibility for that student, the driver should contact the SAU office and must make sure that the student is assigned to someone who can assume that responsibility. If parents, guardians, or other previously agreed-upon caretakers are not available and the SAU office is closed, as a last resort the driver should leave the student with the local police.
- In case of a breakdown, the driver will notify the bus contractor, who will dispatch a substitute bus as soon as possible. Before the substitute bus arrives, the driver will not release any children to anyone other than a parent, guardian, or school official, or to someone authorized by the parent to make decisions on behalf of the child.
- In case a bus cannot complete its afternoon route (because of road conditions, disruptive behavior, etc.) students will be taken back to the school. They will not be discharged at another place, unless prior arrangements have been made with parents.
- Unusually bulky objects may not be allowed on a bus during its regular route. The bus driver will determine whether or not there is room to safely transport "extra" items.
- Drivers should keep to their approved time schedule as closely as possible, and should never be more than five minutes early. If a driver discovers that the bus is approaching that five-minute limit, the driver will wait at appropriate predetermined places on the route until the bus is back on schedule.
- Drivers will maintain a log, or diary, on their bus, which will contain documentation of verbal warnings issued to students for disciplinary purposes. The log will also be used to record other noteworthy items, such as the license plate numbers of motorists passing the bus illegally. While drivers are expected to note any significant events, this log is not to be considered an all-inclusive record of bus incidents.
- Drivers who witness or are made aware of threatening, harassing or bullying type student behavior will immediately and formally report the information to the student’s Principal on the Bus Conduct Report Form.
Kindergarten students ride the regular route buses to the Marion Cross and the Bernice A. Ray School in the morning and home at the end of the school day. It is essential that an adult receive kindergarten students at their stop. Drivers are instructed to NOT drop Kindergartners (or Pre-K from MCS) at stops without an adult to receive them, unless other arrangements have been requested in writing by using the Drop Off Permission Form K-2 found above under forms.
Inclement or threatening weather: How does the SAU make the decision to cancel school or issue a delayed start due to weather?
Determining school cancellations and late starts is taken very seriously by the administration of SAU 70 and the Dresden, Hanover and Norwich School Districts. Our students, employees, and bus driver’s safety is of utmost concern. Because we are a collaboration of integrated school districts, we must be consistent in cancellations and late starts across all three. We currently contract with Student Transportation of Vermont to provide transportation services to our districts. They employ the drivers and own the buses, which carry our District’s names on them. We currently run 13 regular in-town routes and many additional special routes across many different types of terrain and elevations. Many of our 450 District employees travel from towns near and far via highways and secondary roads.
In order to account for the different weather conditions depending upon location and keep everyone safe, we follow many steps before a decision is made to close school or start school late. Close attention is paid to the weather every evening during the winter months. As soon as the National Weather Service issues a storm advisory, we begin watching the national and local weather channels as well as Doppler radar via the Internet. Tracking active storms is done all night long in preparation for possible school closings.
We also base our decision on the following extremely important factors:
● Temperature, including wind chill factor
● Number of inches and timing of projected snowfall
● Freezing rain and/or icy conditions
● Wind velocity impacting the blowing and drifting of snow, along with visibility issues
● Buses running routes at a slower pace having an impact on the length of time students may be waiting at bus stops
● Parents driving their sons/daughters in poor driving conditions and high school age students with little experience driving
A decision to close schools or start late must be made by 5:45 am, as buses begin picking up students at 6:45 am. At about 5:15 am the Business Administrator contacts the district’s police and highway departments as well as the transportation company to determine road conditions. Drivers who live in various district locations are polled about conditions of their roads as well. The Business Administrator, Transportation Manager of STV/A and Superintendent then consider all the information that has been gathered to decide.
Late starts are used when we are seeing the end of a storm and highway departments have advised that the extra time can aid in the clean-up. It also provides better visibility for drivers during daylight. Late starts will normally be a two-hour delay from your normal school start. For example, if your child’s school normally starts at 8:00 am, a late start causes the school day to begin at 10:00 am. When school is canceled or evening activities are canceled, it is important to contact your child’s after-school program providers to see if they too are closing early or canceling their programs. Our decisions do not necessarily affect programs run by the individual towns. Once a decision is made to close school or start late, a District “phone-tree” goes into effect, which notifies District parents, employees, radio and television stations.
Unless there are unusual circumstances, SAU 70 and its Districts will not implement early dismissals for bad weather situations. An early dismissal introduces the risk of sending a young student home to an empty house. We believe that knowing students are inside, safe, warm and learning is far better than sending them home to an empty house. However, it is important to remember that you are the parent and know what is best for your child. If you believe your child would be safer at home in poor weather conditions, your young learner’s absence will be marked as excused. Likewise, if uncomfortable with the weather conditions throughout a poor-weather day as you access the weather conditions, we would encourage you to act upon that belief, communicate with your school’s principal, and make the necessary arrangements to pick up your child.
Overall, buses are very safe modes of transportation. Drivers can and do pull over to call for on the spot sand deliveries should conditions warrant. Please encourage your teenager to ride the bus during inclement weather rather than drive. They are safer having an experienced driver take them to school.
What may appear to be a simple decision, as you can tell, includes many components: transportation, communications, before/after school child care programs within and outside of our elementary schools, the timing of the decision, road crews, the transportation company and the bus drivers. The decisions to close school are based on the ability of the buses to safely and efficiently transport students and the ability of our employees and student drivers to arrive safely at school and home again. Ultimately, the decision lies with the superintendent and it is, indeed, a difficult one, but like you, our first priority is to ensure the safety of our students. Although some may choose to disagree, we will never compromise that basic principle when making the decision, and we support your decision in keeping children home if and when you find it necessary. It is often a judgment call and we strive to do the best we can for everyone involved.
In an effort to cut down on cancelations, we have reviewed all of our bus routes to determine which have proven especially difficult to navigate on poor-weather days. Approximately 20% of the terrain falls into this category. After speaking with our School Boards, we have been working with our transportation provider to make temporary suspension of certain route stops and use “weather-advisory stops” during days of severe weather conditions. If bad weather presents this type of situation and you live on one of these route sections, we will notify you via email of the alternative pick up or drop off locations in advance of the buses running, unless it’s an emergency situation that arises during the course of a route, then notification will occur as soon as it’s possible.
The winter weather advisory procedure will work as follows:
If you live in a section of town or on a road that has historically proven difficult passage on weather-advisory days, we would notify you by 6:00 am that we cannot make it to your regular stop, but will pick your student(s) up at an alternative listed location. Or you may choose to bring the student to school with your own vehicle, or choose to keep the student home.
How does the SAU communicate changes in school openings?
If school is to be closed due to inclement weather conditions, announcements will be broadcast on WMUR TV9, WGXL (92.3 FM), WTSL (AM 1400/ Hot 97.5 FM), WWOD (93.9 The River) WXXK (KIXX 100.5) KOOL Oldies (106.7/96.3 FM) WHDQ (Q106.1 FM) WXLF (95.3/107.1 The WOLF) ESPN-WTSV (94.3 FM/94.5 FM) WNTK (1020 AM/ 1490 AM 99.7 FM/ 98.9 FM), WRJT (The Point 103.1) WFRD (99 ROCK). This announcement will normally be made by 6:00 A.M. School closing information is also posted on WMUR TV’s website www.wmur.com, and on WCAX TV's website www.wcax.com.
The District also operates an automatic call and email system (school messenger) that will notify parents on days when there are school cancellations and delays. This automatic call/email will normally be initiated by 6:00 a.m., or shortly thereafter. If you are not receiving these calls (emails), or if you would like to receive them at a different phone number (email address), or you would like NOT to receive those phone calls (emails), please contact your school’s secretary. Delayed Openings and pick up times if, for weather or other reasons, a two-hour delay is called, all school related schedules will be moved two hours later. Therefore, if your child customarily waits for a bus at 7:20 a.m., he or she should wait for the bus at 9:20 a.m. If your child’s school’s start time is 8:00 a.m., the starting time will change to 10:00 a.m. If a two-hour delay has been announced as described above, and it is later determined that conditions have NOT improved and schools will be closed, an announcement to that effect will be made on the radio and TV stations listed above before 8:00 a.m. Continue to monitor radio stations and the web in case school is subsequently canceled.
Policy EEA, Effective May 20, 2009
Student Transportation: Bus Routes and Stops
The SAU staff under the direction of the Superintendent shall establish bus routes and stops. These routes and stops will be developed in conjunction with the transportation contractor and the school administration. Routes will be over the most direct roads practicable and safe for bus travel to serve those entitled to transportation service statute or district policy. Routes will be designed to employ the full carrying capacity of each bus trip and to minimize the time student spend in transit.
Authorized bus stops shall be located at convenient intervals in safe locations. Bus stop locations must be sited so that pupils can be safely loaded or unloaded, cross highways and await arrival of buses based upon road conditions, terrain, and visibility. The number of each stops on each trip shall be limited to facilitate shorter riding times for students. Changes in designated bus stops may be made only by the Superintendent of Schools.
The Superintendent or designee will provide transportation only to sites located within district boundaries.
Ray School students may, upon written permission of their parents and with the consent of the principal, be transported to places other than their own residence provided that the capacity of the bus is not exceeded, the bus is not required to make additional stops, the request is submitted and approved in advance in accordance with guidelines in the Ray School Student Handbook.
Students and parents must adhere to the transportation guidelines and regulations included in the Ray School Handbook.
Hanover School Board
Policy EEA, Effective June 3, 2009
Student Transportation: Bus Routes and Stops
The SAU staff under the direction of the Superintendent shall establish bus routes and stops. These routes and stops will be developed in conjunction with the transportation contractor and the school administration. Routes will be over the most direct roads practicable for bus travel. Routes will be designed to employ the full carrying capacity of each bus trip and to minimize the time students spend in transit. Children who live less then three-quarters (3/4) of a mile from the elementary school will be transported at the parents' request, if, in the opinion of the Superintendent of Schools, the children are required to walk over a hazardous route or their age of health preclude walking.
Authorized bus stops shall be located at convenient intervals in safe locations. Bus stop locations must be sited so that pupils can be safely loaded or unloaded, cross highways and await arrival of buses based on road conditions, terrain and visibility. The number of bus stops on each trip shall be limited to facilitate shorter riding times for students. Changes in designated bus stops may be made only by the Superintendent of Schools.
Marion Cross School students may, upon written permission of their parents and with the consent of the school principal, be transported to places other than their own residence provided that the capacity of the bus is not exceeded, the bus is not required to make additional stops, and the request is submitted in advance in accordance with guidelines in the Marion Cross School Parent Handbook.
Norwich School Board
Please contact Mike for driver issues, late or early bus, missed stop, etc..
Student Transportation of Vermont
1796 Route 14, White River Jct., VT
If there is an emergency with a Hanover, Norwich or Dresden bus, please contact:
Days: 603-643-6050 x 2008
The Lyme bus H11 (Student Transportation of VT/S-8) will be picking students up at 6:55 AM at the Lyme School.
It is estimated that their arrival at Hanover High School will be 7:30 AM.
Pick up at 3:05 PM at HHS with an estimated drop off time at Lyme School of 3:45 PM (H11 M, Tu, Th, Fri).
Pick up at 2:15 PM on Wednesdays - times will be approximate due to scheduling.