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School carpool during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Updated: Aug 9, 2021

The best thing anyone can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to follow the guidelines set forth by health professionals, including guidelines such as wearing masks, frequent and thorough hand washing, and maintaining proper social distancing.

While mask-wearing and hand washing can be integrated into almost anyone's daily lives, social distancing can be especially difficult for anyone involved in dismissing large groups of kids during a school carpool.

Below are a few things you can do to help create and maintain social distancing during carpool.

1. Keep drivers in their car

If the carpool process you currently use involves parents coming into your school to retrieve their kids, you should try to move to a system that leaves drivers outside. Reducing the amount of person-to-person interaction will also reduce the chance of spreading the virus. Common ways to solve these issues include a) having parents call or text from cell phones or b) giving staff walkie talkies -- though these kinds of solutions can become unmanageable quickly.

With the Beeline Curbside app, you can virtually eliminate the need for any parent to enter your school, and remove the need for cell phone calls, messages, bullhorns, or clipboards.

How does this work?

  • You issue hang tags to the pickup drivers.

  • Carpool line staff use the Beeline Curbside app to enter those numbers.

  • As a number is entered, the teacher for the associated kid(s) is notified.

  • The kids are dismissed to the carpool area.

Why this is important?

  • staff members can review a driver's status, check cars in, and confirm the handoff of kids all without getting close to or speaking with any driver.

2. Know which drivers are close so you can get kids ready early

The increased delays caused by social distancing can be problematic for some schools, especially if a school has a lot of kids. The earlier you can get information to the people responsible for dismissing kids, the more likely the process will flow smoothly. You can solve this by equipping dismissal staff and teachers with walkie talkies or a group chat window, though cross chatter can make this difficult.

Beeline, however, provides visibility directly into each classroom or dismissal area about which kids have a driver in the carpool line and which kids have a driver getting near to the school.

Drivers with the Beeline for Drivers app installed can choose to automatically send an alert to the school when they are about five to ten minutes away from arriving, and again when they enter your carpool pickup area.

How does this work?

  • You invite drivers to install the app.

  • Drivers enable location services for the Beeline app.

  • Anytime the driver crosses one of the two perimeters (geofences) you place around your location, an alert is automatically sent to indicate the drivers proximity to your carpool area.

  • If a driver doesn't wish to enable location services for the Beeline app, they can still check themselves in via a button in the app.

Why this is important?

  • Automatic perimeter (geofence) alerts give kids more time to get ready.

  • Knowing who is in line helps reduce how many carpool staff may be needed.

3. Keep kids in classrooms and in their seat instead of in large groups

One problem inherent with many carpool systems is the requirement for gathering kids into a single location such as an entranceway, hallway, curb, or any other staging area where maintaining social distance might be difficult or impossible.

Beeline Classroom View helps by showing each teacher which of the kids in their classroom have a driver waiting in line and which kids have drivers who are getting close to the school, thereby giving you and your teachers the option of running dismissal without needing to gather all kids in one single location.

How does this work?

  • Each teacher has a list showing only the kids for which they are responsible for dismissing.

  • As the drivers for those kids are checked in, the classroom is notified so that the kid being driven can be dismissed.

  • Only the kids assigned to a teacher show up in that teacher's Classroom view.

Why is this important?

  • Kids no longer need to congregate in large groups in one area.

  • Speeds up dismissal - Kids can be dismissed "just in time" as drivers are arriving at the school.

4. Allow staff to use personal devices

Another thing that can spread a virus is touching items other people have touched, for example, a shared iPad.

The best way to try and eliminate this risk is to make sure that as few people as possible share common use items.

You can address this by allowing your carpool staff and teachers to install whatever dismissal process or product you have in place on their own personal devices instead of school maintained, shared devices.

All "staff" Beeline apps run on both an iPad and an iPhone, which means that staff members who own iPhones or iPads could use the Beeline apps on their personal devices to eliminate shared device contact.

How does this work?

  • Staff members download Beeline Curbside, Beeline Classroom, and/or Beeline Administrator to their personal Apple iOS devices.

  • Staff members log into these applications with the username/password provided to them by the Administrator that set up the school.

  • Beeline Curbside and Beeline Administrator work on Apple iPads or iPhones, Beeline Classroom will work anywhere a webpage can be displayed.

Why this is important?

  • Using Beeline Curbside, Beeline Administrator, and Beeline Classroom on personal Apple/iOS devices limits the need to touch shared devices.

The bottom line?

Beeline was designed to help schools dismiss carpool faster and safer during these times of COVID-19.

If you have ideas you feel should be added to this list or if you are considering Beeline as a solution for adding social distancing to your carpool, don't hesitate to contact us.


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