Changes in Bus Stops and Eligibility Navigate FUSD Through Winter Storm Challenges

As the Flagstaff Unified School District (FUSD) resumed its regular schedule on January 4 after winter break, an unexpected snowstorm prompted the district to implement alternative bus stops and mark the beginning of new eligibility criteria for secondary students.

Despite the snowy conditions with approximately 5.3 inches of snow reported at the Flagstaff airport, FUSD maintained its school schedule. However, alternative bus stops were introduced in response to the inclement weather. The Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy experienced a delayed start due to icy road conditions, with classes commencing at 10 a.m.

Morning buses for FUSD adhered to their usual schedule, utilizing alternative stops for students in Munds Park, Mountainaire, and Kachina Village. The adjustments impacted high school, middle school, and Puente de Hózhó students, redirecting them to stops like the Munds Park Post Office, Mountainaire Country Store, or Kachina Village bus loop.

While the dismissal and bus times remained unchanged, FUSD emphasized that the alternative bus stops would be in effect until further notice.

Anticipating another winter storm forecasted by the National Weather Service for Sunday, FUSD has committed to communicating any schedule changes or cancellations through various channels, including email, text, phone calls, social media, and fusd1.org.

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The recent shift in bus service eligibility for middle and high school students marked its debut on January 4. A mandate from the Arizona Department of Public Safety compelled FUSD to limit secondary student occupancy on buses to two per seat. This adjustment, aimed at addressing an ongoing driver shortage, rendered around 600 students ineligible for district bus services.

FUSD collaborated with Mountain Line to facilitate alternative transportation for affected students, offering semester-long bus passes and information on utilizing public transit.

Patrick Fleming, the district’s director of transportation, reported a smooth transition on the first day, with students adapting well to the changes. Despite minor hiccups, such as a handful of students waiting for a transfer bus that was no longer available, the overall shift to Mountain Line appeared seamless.

Approximately 200 students had already requested bus passes on the inaugural day, signaling a positive response to the alternative transportation solution. While estimating 600 students affected by the eligibility changes, Fleming emphasized that this number is contingent on the families requesting transportation and may differ from the actual ridership.

Looking ahead, FUSD remains open to innovative transportation solutions, with the possibility of continuing the partnership with Mountain Line into future school years. Fleming highlighted ongoing efforts to monitor load counts and assess the effectiveness of the recent changes.

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As FUSD adapts to winter challenges and bus service modifications, ongoing conversations persist regarding transportation for families in Mormon Lake. The district is exploring solutions, including smaller vehicles and community involvement, to ensure students in the area have access to reliable transportation.

Stay tuned to fusd1.org for the latest updates on school schedules and transportation changes during winter weather conditions.

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