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U-46 Transportation Department to be Honored with ‘Accent on Achievement’ 

Oct. 19, 2020

ELGIN - School District U-46’s Transportation Department will be recognized with an “Accent on Achievement” during Monday night’s Board of Education meeting as part of National School Bus Safety Week.

In a normal school year, nearly 27,000 students across the 11 communities served by the District are transported to school by U-46 buses. About 290 bus routes serve the District’s 57 schools and programs, making more than 4,500 stops a day. 

When U-46 moved to a Distance Learning program in March because of COVID-19, U-46’s 350 buses came to a halt. But soon, Transportation Department employees jumped in to help with distribution of school meals, laptops, and preparing textbook kits for students.

They’ve since gradually resumed service, transporting students with special needs to private placement facilities and our school sites, and preparing to bring our youngest learners back to school buildings at the end of October as the District offers its Hybrid Model to our preK-2nd grade students.

“The Transportation Department always plays a critical role in the operation of our school district,” said U-46 Superintendent Tony Sanders. “With the shift to Distance Learning required by the pandemic, members of our Transportation team were still an important part in meeting the needs of our families, just in different ways.” 

U-46 employs about 300 drivers, who usually log about 4.5 million miles a year, said U-46 Director of Transportation Jeffrey Prowell. 

“Our department has a large, complex task to complete every day, and I’m grateful for our bus drivers, dispatchers, route managers, office staff, fleet maintenance crew, routers, and assistants who work closely together to transport our students,” said Prowell.

That task has grown more complex during the COVID-19 pandemic and the implementation of limited in-person instruction under the District’s Hybrid Learning Model. Each seat will hold only one student, unless they are siblings sitting together, and buses will be thoroughly cleaned before and after each route.

Prowell will join Monday’s Board meeting to accept the “Accent on Achievement” certificate for the Transportation Department at 7 p.m. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the Board will be participating electronically using a Zoom Webinar which the public may join live at Members of the public will be able to issue public comment through the Zoom application during the public comment portion of the meeting. The meeting will also be live streamed on the District's YouTube Channel.