Bus System for MSMS Students
Bus System for MSMS Students
To whom this concerns,
The student population of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science was thoroughly upset to hear the news of a new hybrid schooling structure. Many students were very quick to question the decision to split up the junior and senior class. Clearly, this was a tough decision to make meant to reduce student interactions on campus. We see this as the only feasible and moderate solution to the issue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are extreme solutions that include isolating the students on campus for long periods of time and even going fully online. We accept the decision to go to school with this system in place, but naturally, it raises issues. This petition is not in place to argue with the administration or propose an alternative solution. Instead, we hope to supplement this decision with a bus system.
As MSMS is a magnet school that offers education to students from north Mississippi all the way down to the coast, we are bound to have students who live at these extremes. To combat high costs of transportation for families that will have to make the long commute regularly, we as a class would like to offer a solution. It holds similar principles to carpooling, but for students that do not have this luxury and live much farther away from classmates, we would like to start a bus system that serves all students. This is a fairly basic idea as every public school has a bus system in place to get kids from location to location if parents have work or cannot afford the cost of travel. Without a similar system, many of the kids enrolled at MSMS, mainly the upcoming junior class, have already considered the high cost of attending. To them and their families, gas money becomes an insurmountable challenge. They are even looking to stay at their home schools because parents would have to take work off to make the commute. Driving long distances can even impose high risks of crashing. The longer the drive and the more frequent the commute, the more likely it is a student and their family might wreck. However, this issue only comes up if the students are required to travel back and forth more often than they would during the typical school year. Normally, students will go home once a month, and this petition is in place if the length of in-person schooling is shorter than a month. The funding for this bus system would require less than that held at a typical school because the system will only be active during transfer periods. The following is a further elaboration on this idea.
As we consider this, we have to keep in mind the current student population. Only about 110 kids per class are expected to be on campus at a time. To get this group of students to school, we have to create a bus route that hits all the locations that are sending students. We do not need to send a bus to a county that does not have any MSMS students. Here we reach a cross roads. We could create a separate route for juniors and a separate route for seniors. The pros of conjoining one route would be the pick-up and drop-off process for different classes to happen during one trip. Separate routes would support social distancing, but the specifics of the school plan are unknown at this time. For this reason, the proposed system will be relatively vague. We ask for multiple buses, ideally four, to each drive around a region: north, south, east, and west. The bus route will be triangulated by computer software to pinpoint the fastest route for each bus. The bus stops should be near the students to allow accessibility to this solution. A bus stop in a county with only one student should cater towards that student’s actual address. A random pick-up site that is thirty minutes away in the same county would not be ideal. We ask for the MSMS administration to consider all of the previous points. With that being said, if our stays on campus will be longer than usual, the transportation issue should not be a huge factor as it is already a factor to consider when applying to the school. Possible ways to fund the bus system are more transparent for the people in charge of this all. State grants and funding will be needed to make all of this happen, but the MSMS students ask for this transportation issue to be addressed at the bottom line.
We understand that this is a situation new to all of us, dare I say an “unprecedented time”. We are with you every step of the way to create the MSMS experience for all of us, regardless of what hindrances there might be.
Raeed Kabir and the MSMS Class of 2022