The Dover Area school board updated a policy last month that requires parents or guardians to meet kindergarten students at their bus stops.
A similar policy has been in effect for the last 10 years or so, said Superintendent Ken Cherry, but applied to students through fourth grade.
The older students will now be able to get off the bus on their own if necessary, but kindergarten students will be taken back to their school building if a parent is not present to meet them.
As in past years, kindergartners with older siblings will be able to get off the bus with the older students, Cherry said.
And in a continuing program from last year, kindergartners riding the bus will have a tag to wear in the first week so bus drivers know which students are the youngest, Cherry said.
"We know who those kids are on the very first day," he said.
Typically, the number of students who return to school is higher within the first week or two of the school year, Cherry said, when parents are still learning the bus stop schedule.
But after that, the numbers are lower and typically represent emergency situations when a parent is kept from getting to the bus stop on time, Cherry said. In those cases, whether the reason be weather-related or otherwise, Cherry said the policy ensures the parents know their child is waiting for them in a safe location, instead of by the road on their own.
"At least in this instance we know they've been safely returned to school," he said.
— Reach Nikelle Snader at firstname.lastname@example.org.