Metro’s new student busing plan has worked ‘better than expected,’ CPS says

CPS Board members held their first regular business meeting of the 2021-22 school year on Monday.
Cincinnati Public Schools (FOX19 NOW)
Cincinnati Public Schools (FOX19 NOW)
Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 6:28 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - CPS Board of Education members received an update Monday night on how the new Metro busing plan is going in the first days back from summer break.

Arrivals and dismissals have gone “better than expected,” according to a CPS presentation, and the problems that surfaced are being addressed.

More buses are being added for dismissal at Western Hills and Walnut Hills, and CPS is adding security and crossing guards to help with traffic at Walnut Hills, Withrow, Shroder and Aiken.

The largest sticking point comes from students having to make multiple transfers, something Metro said would not happen with its new busing plan. Parents are encouraged to contact Metro directly to discuss specific routes.

The new busing plan has generated substantial concern for student safety since SORTA announced the removal of dedicated, nonstop busing for CPS students due to a driver shortage.

SORTA’s board pushed back on safety concerns last week, and Metro has said they have not heard of security issues since students returned.

Still, Michelle Dillingham with the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers on Friday described long wait times, unsafe drop-off locations and “kids running everywhere.”

While pleased with the positive report at Monday’s meeting, board members held out hope Metro can recruit more drivers and that the dedicated student bus routes will return.

Board member Eve Bolton noted the busing plan might be working now but will likely face problems after daylight savings on Nov. 7.

>> CPS unable to salvage dedicated student bus routes in meeting with SORTA

Also on the board agenda Monday was a mandatory vaccine policy, though board members did not appear to discuss it in the public portion of the meeting.

The board briefly discussed a vaccine mandate in June before sending the proposal back to committee.

Days later, Gov. Mike DeWine signed a law prohibiting Ohio schools from requiring vaccines that are not fully approved by the FDA.

The FDA, however, gave full approval to the Pfizer vaccine on Monday, possibly prompting the board to put the proposal back on the agenda.

CPS began the year with universal indoor masking after a unanimous board vote earlier this month.

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