Huron Valley Schools has debuted a new cellphone app for parents regarding the whereabouts of their child’s school bus.

Parents can download the free SafeStop app on Apple or Android phones. It works with the GPS tracking system on HVS school buses and allows family members of pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, as well as special education students, to receive real time updates as the bus travels to and from school. Parents log in through their child’s secure student ID and can only see their own child’s bus route. Information is updated regularly so parents can get to the bus stop with plenty of time but it’s also especially helpful in times of bad weather or traffic delays. The app also allows the district’s transportation department to communicate a bus delay directly to families on a specific route.

HVS Executive Director of Communications and Community Relations Kim Root says it’s a really nice tool for parents and they looked at other options but settled on SafeStop because of its practicality and ease of use. As more features become available, she says the district will investigate those and roll them out. Root said she thinks the new SafeStop app will only gain steam, noting it was just officially rolled out Tuesday and over 500 families had already signed up by Wednesday.

Root tells WHMI says it’s the idea of giving parents greater piece of mind to know the true whereabouts of their child both coming and going on the school bus. She says they waited to make sure all the bugs in the system were worked out and things were perfected before they started implementing the app and believes they’re at a stage now that parents should have good ease of use in terms of it being a robust tool for them. She says the app allows the district to send secure messages for things such as if a bus is running late, which also saves parents having to call the transportation department. She noted the district totals more than 100 square miles and runs 60 buses a day on three different tiers for high school, middle school and elementary students. Root says they transport over 6,500 kids every day so a tool like this really does give families greater piece of mind and it’s one more way they’re demonstrating how important it is for kids to be safe. (JM)