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School bus schedules changing in northwest area of two large school boards in Eastern Ontario this fall

The Student Transportation of Eastern Ontario (STEO) is changing bus pick-up and drop off schedules for some students to reflect the reality of a new unified school day for students across the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO) and the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB). The first round of changes will be effective September 4, 2019 and will be applied to 34 schools in the northwestern region of the two school board districts, largely associated with Lanark County, Smiths Falls, and some schools in Leeds County.  Additional changes will be implemented across the CDSBEO and UCDSB full districts over the next three years.   

The schedule changes and related bell time alignment supports consistent planning for families, the implementation of district-wide learning opportunities and significant transportation related savings, without loss of service to families.

“STEO has worked closely with the CDSBEO and UCDSB to align our schedule with the shift to new bell times across the entire region of service over the next three years,” explained Janet Murray, General Manager/CAO of STEO. “That process initiates in the North West region of the school board districts and largely associates with the Lanark County, Smiths Falls and some schools in the Leeds County area.  It will create a consistent 8:00 a.m. start time for secondary schools and start times for elementary schools between 9:15 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.”

On average, bell time changes and the corresponding changes to bus schedules will shift by about 15 minutes to 25 minutes. School specific information can be accessed at www.steo.ca/belltimechanges. Both the CDSBEO and UCDSB recognize that the changes in bell times may require parents and students to make use of before and after-school care services that they did not require in the past. 

“We recognize that this may mean changes for some parents who will have to accommodate a new drop off and pick-up schedule into their daily routine,” said John McAllister, UCDSB & STEO Board Chairman.  “To address these concerns, each board is actively working with parents and childcare operators to assess the need for additional support.”

To gauge the new level of childcare support that parents may need, the annual survey of parents’ need for childcare services by individual schools has been aligned with the notice of bell time changes. This will allow parents to carefully consider their own needs in light of the changes coming this fall.

“The information parents provide to the annual needs assessment is critically important to helping childcare operators so they can properly assess demand and make the necessary plans for resources in the new school year,” said Bonnie Norton, Associate Director of Education & Treasurer, CDSBEO.  “The boards have notified childcare operators in the affected areas of the changes planned for this fall and advised them to expect increased demand for service in anticipation of the changes that will be detailed in the annual needs assessment survey.  It makes the survey’s completion very important, and we are taking every step we can to ensure parents complete and return the surveys to their respective board before the end of the current school year.”

STEO and the boards are providing a number of resources to assist parents with specific information about how they will be directly affected by schedule changes and how they can most effectively source in-school or other childcare services if needed. This includes in-school notices to the home, email, text, social media, call centre outreach and online sources of detailed information.  Parents of UCDSB students are asked to register for My Family Room so that new information, reminders and additional details can be shared with parents and students before the current school year is completed, throughout the summer and ahead of the start of school this fall. This can be accomplished by visiting www.myfamilyroom.ca to begin the registration process. Parents of students in the CDSBEO will receive information directly to their email and telephone contacts via School Messenger.

Parents are encouraged to go online at www.steo.ca/belltimechanges to learn more about the specific changes to school bus service in their area. Early information will detail the range of anticipated changes and on August 12, the Bus Planner system will provide specific details to each student for pick up times and locations.

STEO has set up a call centre that can be reached at 1.855.441.1589 and will be active as of May 29, 2019 and can assist parents in accessing online information and providing direction on where additional online information resources can be reached.

About STEO

Student Transportation of Eastern Ontario (STEO), is the transportation consortium for the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO) and the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB).

STEO provides safe, effective, and efficient transportation for approximately 33,613 students on 747 vehicles, traveling over 132,000 kms daily, to over 150 sites and schools across Eastern Ontario.

About CDSBEO

The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario operates 39 elementary and 10 secondary schools across 8 counties. The CDSBEO offers excellence in Catholic education through provincial-leading programs to approximately 12,600 students.

About UDCSB

The Upper Canada District School Board is a high-quality educational organization comprised of 79 schools, with approximately 4,200 staff educating around 27,000 students in the counties of Lanark, Leeds-Grenville, Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry, and Prescott-Russell. The Upper Canada District School Board is situated on traditional Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee Territory. We are proud to offer our students a wide variety of academic, athletic, artistic and extracurricular activities as part of a well-rounded education.


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