This article covers the way to configure scheduled ‘day of the week’ exceptions in the Veracross Transportation Module. A scheduled exception is a Student “Transportation Schedule” record in the Transportation module that acts as a regularly occurring (scheduled) exception to their Normal bus configuration.
Scheduled exceptions are therefore a significant feature of the Transportation module. Here are a few examples of common scheduled exceptions:
- Practice for the school Play every Tue/Thu after school during the fall.
- Team practices that run every day after school during the season seasons.
- Extended care every Wed for the whole academic year.
For one-time exceptions though (e.g., a sick student leaves school early, or is on a field trip), read more about daily transportation workflows.
To schedule an exception to the student’s “M-F” schedule record, click “Add Record” either on the Bus Route detail screen, or on the student “Transportation” tab, or click “Add a Transportation Schedule” to begin adding a new Transportation Schedule record.
The key: Set “Day” on the schedule record as either M,T,W,R, or F for this new schedule record to act as a regularly-occurring “override” to the student’s M-F schedule record.
In order to schedule an exception, any “narrower” day schedule will automatically act as an “override” to the normal bus schedule for that student. For example, if the student rides Bus Route “Nine” M-F, that is their “Normal” route, and adding a second Transportation Schedule record for Bus Route “Late Bus One” for that student with only “Tuesday” as the scheduled day, the “Late Bus” route will automatically override as the Route on the Trip records for that student on Tuesdays. The default logic that generates Trips each day looks first at the “widest” schedule (e.g., M-F), then looks for exceptions on particular days.
Note that by scheduling a ‘day of the week’ exception, it is recommended to also set Grading Period on this schedule record to reflect the date range for which this ‘day of the week’ exception should apply. For instance, if an activity runs every Thursday for all of “Trimester 2,” then the student’s PM Transportation Schedule Record, for Thursdays, should be configured for Grading Period “Trimester 2”. After the end date of Trimester 2, this scheduled exception record will no longer apply and the student will be back on their “Normal” bus on Thursdays.
Exception Scheduling: “Transportation” Flag on Class Enrollment Records
Although it’s relatively easy to schedule an exception manually as described above, a typical workflow in the Athletic Program module, Other Programs module, and/or Extended Care module can drastically simplify the process for scheduling an exception.
When the program manager enrolls a student or program student in a class/team/program, and checks the “Transportation” box for students who need transportation for that activity, that results in one (or more – see below) new Transportation Schedule records being instantly added for that student. These new records will appear on the Transportation Homepage “After School Transportation Requests” report, which is an important workflow tool for transportation schedule management.
The newly created transportation schedule records are populated with some important information, ready-made to function as a “day of the week” scheduled exception, but “Bus Route” is left blank, giving the Transportation Manager the ability to review these new schedule records and place the student on a bus. Typically these “late” bus routes may need to be configured term by term, if student involvement with late activities is not always predictable.
All the transportation manager would need to do is review the “After School Transportation Requests” report, and update the Bus Route on these schedule records from “None Specified” to an appropriate “Late” bus route. If however the transportation manager needs more information, these new records link to the class they were created from, allowing the transportation manager to do more research, contact the program leader, etc.
When the Program manager is configuring Team Rosters, or Program rosters, or Extended Care registrations, that user checks the box “Transportation” on a class enrollment record, and the resulting transportation schedule record is instantly created, with the following values:
- The class schedule “day” setting. For example, if the class is scheduled for “Thursday,” the resulting transportation schedule record is created for “Thursday”. This rule applies even if the class is scheduled for more than one day per week: if the class is scheduled for M,T,F then this workflow will insert 3 transportation schedule records: one for M, one for T, one for F.
- The class schedule “grading period” setting. For example, if the class is scheduled for “Trimester 2”, the resulting transportation schedule record is created for “Trimester 2”. This rule applies even if the class is scheduled for more than one grading period: if the class is scheduled for “Quarter 1” and “Quarter 2,” then this workflow will insert 2 transportation schedule records: one for Quarter 1, one for Quarter 2.
- If a class is scheduled for 2 days, spanning 2 grading periods, then this method will insert 4 transportation schedule records, and so on.
- The newly created transportation schedule record Notes field is filled with the class end time, in the format: “End Time: (class schedule end time)”
- All transportation schedule records created using this method will be PM-only. This method for creating transportation schedule records applies to afternoon busing only.
- All transportation schedule records created using this method will have a linkage with the class from which they were created. Unchecking the “Transportation” checkbox on the class enrollment record deletes the transportation schedule record(s); deleting the class enrollment record deletes the transportation schedule record(s).
- Key: The new transportation schedule records are created with Bus Route = None Specified, giving the transportation manager the ability to review these brand new schedule records and place the students on a Bus Route.
Exceptions: if a program class isn’t scheduled, then the system cannot insert transportation schedule records in this manner, because the “exception” Transportation Schedules need to be scheduled for a Day and Grading Period, which is derived from the Class Schedule.
After School Activities, Extended Care, Athletics: Integration
When adding students to an after-school activity, or athletic team roster, or an extended care class, if the student requires a “late bus” for transportation due to the activity, the Athletic Director or Program Manager can indicate whether transportation will be needed. It does not matter whether the student normally rides the bus, or what their “normal” transportation situation is at all: Transportation requirement can be indicated for any student in any activity.
It is simply a matter of ticking the “Transportation” checkbox on the Team/Program/Class Roster as seen in the screenshot.
Busing for such activities can also be added after students have registered via online program registration; the “Transportation” flag can be ticked at any point to indicate that a student requires Transportation due to this particular activity.
“Transportation” Flag on the Class Roster
If transportation is required for a student due to their After School activity, simply tick the “Transportation” flag from the Program detail screen – General tab (looking at the class Roster) – and click “Update.” Doing so instantly creates a transportation schedule record for the day(s) that this program is scheduled. The newly created Transportation Schedule Record will not have a Bus Route or Bus Stop set, so it won’t actually affect the student’s Transportation configuration until those values are set; but it will appear as a request in the “After School Transportation Requests” report on the Transportation homepage.
The transportation manager simply needs to review these new “Requests,” and set which Bus Route that are to be scheduled for. New Bus Routes can be added to Veracross whenever needed to represent Late Buses (or any other bus route needed, for that matter).
Tip: Using a “Map” query visualization can facilitate easily visualizing where students live, and aid in the bus route scheduling process.
Once some analysis has been done and the Transportation Manager is ready to place the “After School Transportation Requests” onto a route, the Transportation Manager may pull in the Bus Route field directly into the query to easily place the students on a bus route.
Integration: Sharing information from the Activity to the Driver
The field “After School Class” is set on the Transportation Schedule Record. This joins to the class, establishing a clear relationship in the data between this Transportation Schedule record and the class in question.
Crucially, that information is inherited by each Trip that is generated, which then appears in turn on the Bus Driver List.
For instance, if Boys Varsity Tennis is scheduled for “Fall”, for Mondays and Thursdays, then when the “Transportation” checkbox is ticked on the Class Enrollment Record (seen on the Team – General tab), the system will instantly create two Transportation Schedule Records for the student. Each of them will be scheduled for the “Fall” grading period (meaning that they will be effective only between the Start/End date of that grading period), and they will individually be scheduled for “Monday” and “Thursday” respectively, meaning that they will act as an “override” to the student’s M-F transportation schedule. And, the “After School Class” field will be populated with the “Boys Varsity Tennis” class.
Those Transportation Schedule Records in turn generate the individual Trip records, which cause all that information to appear on the Driver list. The driver will easily see which students participate in Boys Varsity Tennis, allowing for simple communication if, for instance, Tennis is going 10 minutes late on a day: The driver can easily be asked to wait a few extra minutes. All this is enabled by simply ticking the Transportation checkbox on the team roster.
“Simpler” after school activity transportation scheduling
If your school uses the Transportation module, but does not use Veracross to schedule after school activities as “Classes”, then there is shorter way to configure Transportation Schedule Records that are associated with activities. Note that this does require more manual work to set up the transportation schedule records, but if classes don’t already exist for Sports, Activities, etc., then this method may be preferable.
When adding a Transportation Schedule Record for a student, that is intended to be associated with a Late Bus, you may choose to leave “Bus Route” blank on the schedule record at first. For record keeping purposes, and also to have information flow to the Bus Driver, it is recommended to set the dropdown-field “Activity”, and to put a Note in the Transportation Schedule “Notes” field, to indicate the purpose of this late bus. It won’t be as much information as if the Class-related integration is used (described above) but it will still be a helpful note indicating why this schedule was configured, and crucially, this information will flow onto the Driver List.