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Louis Riel School Division Wheeling out School Bus Transportation Solution

August 21, 2020

As we collectively continue to navigate the pandemic with the return to in-school learning on the horizon, providing transportation for our community in a safe, reliable and equitable manner has been a top priority.
 
Throughout the summer, we were in touch with families who access school bus transportation in Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) on multiple occasions to gauge how many people would be able to find other ways to get their children to and from schools.
 
With the current Manitoba health and safety regulations in place for transportation, we knew it was going to be a challenge to provide the same capacity of service for our entire community.
 
As we reviewed the results, the parents of approximately 500 students or 20 per cent of eligible riders indicated they were able to make alternate arrangements. To everyone who was able to devise a new plan for getting their kids to school, I'd like to extend sincere gratitude, and a genuine thank you for your flexibility and understanding. The reduction in ridership has helped us focus our efforts on building a solution for the remaining 80 per cent of students who need safe school bus transportation. 
 
We are pleased to announce that we are in the process of finalizing an agreement that will add an additional 25 school buses to our current division inventory.
 
This wouldn't have been possible without the LRSD Board of Trustees approving the Senior Leadership Team's recommendation to re-direct budgeted dollars to resolve this and other related COVID-19 budget needs. We also want to recognize First Student Canada, who has been instrumental in helping us find and source additional buses.
 
When the agreement is finalized, these additional vehicles will give us the capacity to provide safe, reliable and equitable transportation for the approximately 2,400 eligible riders (80 per cent of the ridership) who indicated they rely on school buses to get them to school.
 
I need to acknowledge the efforts of our Transportation Task Force, including team lead, Henri Peloquin, and team members Amarbeer Bhandari, Burke Okrainec, Steven Karalash, and Marna Kenny. I am incredibly impressed with the team's collective efforts and commitment to finding a solution. The division is fortunate to have this group of individuals who have done everything they can, along with support from First Student Canada, to find seats on school buses for every student that needs one.
 
We are now focused on recruiting and hiring additional trained bus drivers to safely deploy these additional buses on routes during the month of September. Our goal is to fill these positions as soon as possible.
 
Parents will receive an emailed confirmation about seat allotment and when their bus schedule will begin from the LRSD Transportation Department the week of August 31.
 
Thanks again to our entire community for your patience and support. You can find this information and much more in our current and comprehensive Navigating the 2020-2021 School Year plan
 
Be well, 
Christian Michalik, Superintendent and CEO

 
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With 40 schools and more than 15,400 students and 2,200 staff, there's a lot to celebrate in LRSD! We've included just a few of the noteworthy highlights and achievements of the 2020-2021 school year in the latest Annual Report to the Community: https://t.co/Fy38tUkeP7 #YourLRSD https://t.co/2ToEGQZ6wU

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RT @jmoses6: Dropping off donated backpacks full of school supplies to some St. Vital schools this past week Thx to Principal Troy Reinhardt & VP Thaddeus Bourassa of Victor Mager School & VP Ron Harder of Hastings School Wishing all students, parents and school staff well this school year https://t.co/FUbNqahXMq

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RT @landryjosie: Thanks to Councillor Brian Mayes and MLA Rochelle Squires for supporting funding for a new play structure at Victor Wyatt ⁦@louis_riel_sdhttps://t.co/6IIx3llLIn

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