Back to school for Harford County Public Schools students this Monday also means the resumption of school bus service for the majority of them.
Bus routes and times are available now at http://www.hcps.org by clicking on the bus icon on the left side of the home page, and they will be published in Friday's editions of The Aegis and The Record.
Of the approximately 38,000 students expected to be enrolled for the 2012-13 school year, about 35,000 will be transported by school bus daily, according to school officials.
Since routes are based on estimated fall enrollments, school officials remind parents and students to expect minor adjustments in bus loads and schedules during the first weeks of school in order to alleviate any overcrowded buses.
Children 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.
Bus routes are planned so that a maximum number of children are picked up and discharged at the nearest stop to their homes, according to a school system news release.
Generally, bus stops are at least a quarter of a mile apart. 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 by 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.
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.
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 at http://www.hcps.org, as well as in the Parent-Student Handbook and Calendar.
A consolidated bus stop system for school bus transportation is utilized for all students attending HCPS magnet programs and alternative education.
Students attending magnet programs at Harford Technical High School, Science and Mathematics Academy at Aberdeen High School, Global Studies Program/International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme at Edgewood High School, Natural Resources and Agricultural Science Magnet Program at North Harford High School, as well as the daytime Alternative Education Program, should plan to be at the bus stop at least 10 minutes before the scheduled pick up time.
Students attending Harford Technical High School, the Science and Mathematics Academy at Aberdeen High School, the Global Studies Program/International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme at Edgewood High School, the Natural Resources and Agricultural Science Magnet Program at North Harford High School and the daytime Alternative Education Program have been contacted by postcard with their bus information.
John Archer School and any elementary Pre-K program students will be contacted directly by their bus drivers, as will all other students riding a special needs bus, both in county and out-of-county.
Magnet program students living in the regular attendance for their school will used that school's regular bus service.
Questions or concerns should be directed to the Harford County Public Schools Transportation Department at 410-638-4092.