Bus Guardian

Contact Tracing and Hygiene Verification

 

A Safer School Bus Experience: From A Trusted Technology Provider 

Simply install a Synovia tablet, turn on the software and your standard school bus fleet is converted into a COVID-19 ready student transportation fleet. 

The Student Ridership module works much like an airplane boarding pass, alerting parents when students board and depart the bus. And creates instant reports for contact tracing of potentially ill students. Fleet managers will be able to immediately understand ridership trends and respond intelligently to COVID-19 related situations. 

Bus Guardian also delivers a hygiene verification module that ensures drivers conduct thorough sanitization as part of their pre- and post-trip inspections. 

“We recognize schools face enormous challenges as they create new plans for students to safely manage the coming school year and that student transportation will play a vital role.  We’re investing significant research and development to forge technology solutions aimed at helping that process,” said Bill Westerman, Vice President, Product Management, CalAmp.  

What is Bus Guardian?

Bus Guardian is a powerful, flexible and scalable solution designed to help schools deliver actionable reporting on school bus ridership focused on contact tracing in the event of an ill student.
The underlying technology: a tablet that powers Student Ridership and Trip Inspection and is already used by more than 250 school districts across North America.
It’s rugged, reliable and proven technology that has evolved to address the COVID-19 challenge with reporting designed around contact tracing and hygiene verification. Transportation leaders will have the tools they need to digitize, automate and store in a secure cloud environment the data essential to a smarter, safer school bus. 

Bus Guardian parent company Synovia Solutions has nearly 20 years of experience serving the student transportation industry with its solution now installed in approximately 100,000 buses across North America.

How It Works

Parents opt-in to have their student use their student ID or smart phone to check in and off the bus the same way passengers board a commercial airliner.

The technology does NOT track the student nor do we collect any data about students outside of what the school provides on their busing information. Data security is our highest priority.  

Bus Guardian creates ridership manifests much like an airliner, and allows the school to respond intelligently if a child is infected with COVID-19 and officials want to understand which other students may have been in contact with that student. 

Think of it as digitally taking attendance in a classroom powered by the same technology trusted by airlines.

Hundreds of school district nationwide have been using this technology for many years to help improve bus safety as it can also prevent young students from boarding the wrong bus or getting off at the wrong stop.

 

 Driver Illness Screening

Drivers can use the mobile app or in-cab tablet to complete a health screening before every work day or even every route. This simple feature can be added to the Trip Inspection functionality and create an additional layer of safety and security. 

When coupled with the vehicle hygiene verification, this simple-to-install and easy-to-use feature creates even greater value for the trip inspection module. 

Fleet managers can set up intuitive alerts that track real-time driver health status and create detailed reports that show historical driver health data. 

 

Bus Guardian was featured on Oklahoma City’s Fox 25 newcast as part of a segment on technologies to support the new normal.   

Contact tracing is one of the primary tools public health officials are using to combat the spread of COVID-19. CNBC highlighted the power of contact tracing and how it can save lives. 

Keeping Drivers Safe

Bus Guardian is able to provide contact tracing for students via our Ridership solution and the also trace drivers via our Time and Attendance module also available in our cab-mounted tablet.  

Similar to the other elements of Bus Guardian, the Time and Attendance module is used by hundreds of school districts nationwide to replace paper time sheets, improve hourly accuracy and store data securely in the cloud. 

Since it associates any driver, including substitutes, with the exact bus they drove via a log in on the cab-mounted tablet or the Synovia mobile app, it can be used for contact tracing if a driver is identified as COVID-19 positive.  

The American School Bus Council has published a wealth of resources and tools for schools, communities and families navitgating the complex COVID-19 student transportation environment. 

Hygiene Verification  

Contact tracing has been touted as one of the most important tools for combating the spread of COVID-19, but it is only half of the Bus Guardian solution. 

The tablet also powers a trip inspection module already used by hundreds of school districts. We’ve innovated the trip inspection to include capturing the hygiene and sanitation efforts aboard the bus. Together, Bus Guardian helps schools manage two of the most essential aspects of combating COVID-19: contact tracing and ensuring proper hygiene

Many of the largest most dynamic school bus fleets across North America rely on our technology to improve safety, save money and enhance operations. 

Our country has redefined what it means to be essential. School bus drivers have performed admirably delivering meals and homework to keep students and families connected during this challenging period. Last year, we created this video to salute the dedicated men and women who keep millions of students safe every day traveling to and from school. 

Contact tracing is one of the primary tools public health officials are using to combat the spread of COVID-19. CNBC highlighted the power of contact tracing and how it can save lives. 

Contact tracing will remain an essential part of any program designed to combat COVID-19. The Washington Post highlighted how the program works and the role it will play as America returns to work, school and life after the stay-at-home orders. 

Bus Guardian Tablet: Rugged, Reliable and Proven

Simply install a Synovia tablet, turn on the software and your standard school bus fleet is converted into a COVID-19 ready student transportation fleet. 

The Student Ridership module works much like an airplane boarding pass, alerting parents when students board and depart the bus. And creates instant reports for contact tracing of potentially ill students. Fleet managers will be able to immediately understand ridership trends and respond intelligently to COVID-19 related situations.

Bus Guardian also delivers a hygiene verification module that ensures drivers conduct thorough sanitization as part of their pre- and post-trip inspections.

Question: What is Contact Tracing?

Answer: Contact tracing is used by health departments to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In general, contact tracing involves identifying people who have an infectious disease (cases) and people who they came in contact with (contacts) and working with them to interrupt disease spread. This includes asking people with COVID-19 to isolate and their contacts to quarantine at home voluntarily.

Question: How does Contact Tracing work?

Answer: Contact tracing generally involves the following*:

  • Interviewing people with COVID-19 to identify everyone they had close contact with during the time they may have been infectious
  • Notifying contacts of their potential exposure
  • Referring contacts for testing
  • Monitoring contacts for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
  • Connecting contacts with services they might need during the self-quarantine period

Question: Are schools performing contact tracing?

Answer: Like so much associated with COVID-19, there is no general answer and responses vary widely by state, county, municipality and school district. It’s best to check with your school to best understand if and how your school is integrating a contact tracing program.

Question: Does contact tracing put my personal information at risk?

Answer: No. According to the CDC, your information remains confidential while public health officials or, in this case, possibly a school official reaches out to your contacts.

Please see more from CDC below:

What a person diagnosed with COVID-19 can expect to happen during contact tracing

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, a public health worker may call you to check-in on your health, discuss who you’ve been in contact with, and ask where you spent time while you may have been infectious and able to spread COVID-19 to others. You will also be asked to stay at home and self-isolate, if you are not doing so already.

  • Your name will not be revealed to those you may have exposed, even if they ask.
  • Self-isolation means staying at home in a specific room away from other people and pets and using a separate bathroom, if possible.
  • Self-isolation helps slow the spread of COVID-19 and can help keep your family, friends, neighbors, and others you may come in contact with healthy.
  • If you need support or assistance while self-isolating, your health department or community organizations may be able to provide assistance.
  • Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. If your symptoms worsen or become severe, you should seek medical care. Severe symptoms include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face.*

Question: Is the Here Comes The Bus app used for contact tracing?

Answer: No, Here Comes the Bus is used only to track the real time location of the school bus and provide arrival and departure notifications. Here Comes The Bus has never collected information from a user’s phone or computer and only uses the school bus stop data provided by the school to deliver its tracking and alerts.

Question: What is Bus Guardian?

Answer: Bus Guardian is an innovation of our longstanding product, Student Ridership, which functions much like a commercial airline when they check a passenger into a flight at the gate. It simply scans a bar code to create detailed manifests of who rode which bus and on what day and for what exact time. It also associates drivers with their specific vehicle with our Time and Attendance module. And it also uses the Trip Inspection module to provide hygiene verifications.

Question: Can my school use Bus Guardian without Here Comes The Bus?

Answer: Yes. These are separate technologies that rely on separate hardware requirements to function. While many customers will use both features to improve communications with families, they can be purchased and implemented independently.

Bus Guardian is built on the same GPS-powered school bus fleet tracking technology as our award-winning mobile app, Here Comes The Bus. In the video below, Cobb County families and school officials share their experiences with the app trusted by more than 2 million users across North America. 

Question: Can my school use Bus Guardian without the connected vehicle, school bus tracking technology?

Answer: No. All of our solutions are built on top of our connected vehicle, GPS tracking technology known as Core GPS. This solution is the combination of rugged, reliable hardware installed in the bus as well as intuitive software accessible on a desktop platform or our trusted mobile app.

Once a customer has this solution, they can upgrade to any of our other value-added solutions, including Bus Guardian.

 

 

Question: How does Bus Guardian provide contact tracing technology?

Answer: Bus Guardian allows a school to create an instant report of who rode the bus with a potentially ill student. Again, think of it like an airline. The school knows which students are supposed to be on the bus, just like an airline knows who bought a ticket and checked bags, but the gate scan in the ultimate verification that person is on the plane.

Bus Guardian will tell schools who exactly was on a certain bus since some students may ride a bus one week, but not the next if they are splitting time with two different parents or riding with a sibling, friend or neighbor on certain days.

Along with a roster of which classrooms a student was in throughout their day, Bus Guardian will provide schools with the details they need to communicate with exactly the right people who may have been in contact with an ill student.

Again, this technology does NOT track student via their phone or any other connected device, it simply create the most accurate rider manifest possible.

Question: Does Bus Guardian or parent company CalAmp collect any of my student’s personal information?

Answer: No. Bus Guardian only knows which student boarded which bus and that information is provided by the school and stored in our secure cloud server protected by the same technology used by banks for online banking.

Data protection is as serious to Bus Guardian and CalAmp as student safety, and we are continually upgrading our systems to remain as secure as possible.

CalAmp serves some of the largest, most dynamic commercial fleets in the world as well as industrial original equipment manufacturers, which require we maintain the strictest levels of data protection.

All student transportation customers enjoy the same technology we deliver to the brands trusted to deliver packages to your doorstep and industrial vehicles that help shape our earth and build our communities

Question: How are CalAmp and Synovia Solutions able to deliver these technologies?

Answer: Synovia Solutions and its parent company, CalAmp, are experts in vehicle safety thanks to our longstanding role in developing, deploying and supporting fleet intelligence solutions built on GPS tracking software.

We have helped more than 1,000 student transportation customers representing some of the largest school districts in the country develop what is essentially a smart bus that includes a vehicle tracking mobile app, Here Comes The Bus, and the digitization of payroll and vehicle inspections functions. All of this is rooted in our primary focus of school bus safety and creating a safer transportation environment for students, drivers and administrators.

Question: How long will it take to stand up this technology?

Answer: For current Synovia Solutions customers which already have the tablet installed in their vehicles, Bus Guardian can be up and running in weeks or even days. For new customers who will require the installation of telematics device and the tablet as well as the required software training, we normally say it’s a two-month process. School bus technology that supports student safety is our mission and we are committed to move as rapidly as possible to support schools facing this incredibly complex challenge.

Question: What is the long-term goal of Bus Guardian?

Answer: Our vision is to make the school bus as smart and connected as any vehicle on the road today. School buses are historically considered among the safest vehicles on the road thanks to their color, size and specific regulations around maintenance and inspections as well as driver training. We know that a connected vehicle is a safer vehicle thanks to greater accountability of the driver, the mechanic and the fleet manager when they have access to a wealth of discreet data about driving history, engine diagnostics and mileage.

We will continue to innovate with a focus on student safety, driver accountability and saving customers money while striking the right balance with regards to privacy and data security.

We strive to go far beyond the basic features of a school bus GPS tracking system and continue our industry leading position with solutions that improve vehicle safety and create a safer school environment.

The Bus Guardian program relies on an enhanced trip inspection module already used by more than 400 school districts to include hygiene verification in addition to its regular slate of inspections like lights, signals and other roadworthy indicators.