Marietta (Ga.) City Schools is partnering with technology solutions supplier CalAmp to conduct contact tracing and deploy its communication and fleet management solutions.
The school district was recently included in a study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to better understand COVID-19 transmission in a school environment, according to a news release from CalAmp. The study was featured on a March episode of the CBS News program “60 Minutes” as well as several Atlanta area media outlets.
"Our role in the CDC study has been a great opportunity for our schools to be part of better understanding COVID and how it spreads,” said Kimberly Ellis, the transportation director at Marietta City Schools. “It's been huge for us to have the Bus Guardian system in place so the research team could include the school bus as part of the student's daily journey.”
Ellis added the transportation department also uses the platform to communicate with law enforcement and families in the event of an accident.
The district has installed CalAmp location monitoring units on nearly 100 buses as well as 12 district support vehicles, which connects all of them to the CalAmp software solution.
The student ridership facet of Bus Guardian is also designed to connect parents to children as they travel to and from school, sending multiple push notifications to parents as students board and depart their buses.
"This is what parents expect, and in many cases demand of us," Ellis said. "They want us to communicate as much as possible with them, and to have the technology to keep their kids safe. I don't think you can measure the peace of mind this gives parents of young children knowing they are much less likely to get off at the wrong stop."
Bus Guardian, developed by CalAmp subsidiary Synovia Solutions, serves more than 200 school districts across North America, including Atlanta Public Schools, according to the technology solutions supplier.
Marietta City Schools also invested in additional features and software modules focused on improving staff and fleet management efficiency. Those include:
- Time and attendance, designed to allow drivers to clock in remotely at their assigned buses and receive real-time updates on their routes throughout the day.
- Engine diagnostics, which can capture real-time engine and vehicle status.
- Pre- and post-trip inspections, created to help drivers manage inspections from their in-cab tablets, minimizing paperwork, and streamlining the inspection process.
In other CalAmp news, the technology solutions supplier named its first ever “Bus Guardian Hero” on April 22 when it awarded Tim Cribley from Hudsonville Public Schools in Michigan for his commitment to student safety and work supporting local food banks around Grand Rapids.
Marietta City Schools is a charter system that serves 8,900 students at eight elementary choice schools, one of which is a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) magnet school; one sixth-grade school, one middle school, and one high school.