Harford students head back to the classroom Monday

Summer may not be officially over until later in September, but for about 38,000 children who attend Harford County Public Schools, summer draws to a close Sunday. Those students will head back to the classroom Monday morning.

Of those 38,000, about 35,000 ride a bus to and from school, and those busses are getting gassed up and ready to roll.

Parents can find the buses their children need to get and when and where by clicking here.

High school starts at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m.; middle school runs from 8:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., except North Harford Middle, which operates on the same schedule as North Harford High; and elementary school runs from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., except the fourth-tier schools that run 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fourth tier schools are: Bakerfield, Bel Air, Deerfield, Forest Lakes, Havre de Grace, Red Pump and William S. James elementary schools.

Harford has a depot bus stop system for students attending magnet programs. Students attending the Science and Mathematics Academy at Aberdeen High School, the Global Studies Program/International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme at Edgewood High School and the Natural Resources and Agricultural Science Magnet Program at North Harford High School should have already been contacted by postcard with their bus information.

Students attending the Alternative Education Program and Harford Technical High School will use the consolidated bus stop system and were also notified of their approximate pick-up time and location by post card.

John Archer School and any elementary pre-kindergarten program students are contacted by their bus drivers, as are all other students riding a special needs bus, both in county and out-of-county.

Elementary school bus routes are planned so that a maximum number of children are picked up and discharged at the nearest stop to their homes. The bus drivers will inform the children of the designated stops during the first few days of school.

The morning time for each bus is the estimated time of the first stop the bus will make on its morning run. This time may vary several minutes during the first few days of school until each driver is able to establish a definitive schedule. Students should plan to be at the bus stop at least five minutes before the scheduled pick-up time. Students attending the Alternative Education Program and students attending magnet programs should plan to be at their bus stops and depots at least 10 minutes before the scheduled pick-up time. The student's designated depot stop is their home high school in their attendance area or an alternate authorized high school depot stop. Students who plan to use bus transportation are encouraged to ride the bus beginning the first day of school to facilitate the establishment of the time schedule and the busload.

The afternoon return time to home for each bus may be later at the beginning of the school year to accommodate students adjusting to new school settings. Once the schedule has been established, there will be a normal drop-off time for each student.

The Pupil Transportation Rules will be distributed to each student on the first day of school and discussed in class. Parents are urged to review the rules with their children, which can be found on the Harford County Public Schools website, http://www.hcps.org as well as in the 2014-15 handbook and academic calendar.

Questions or concerns related to specific bus stops or route schedules should be directed to the school system's transportation department, 410-638-4092.

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