Hello Riverside parents,

The first day of school is right around the corner, and I need to make everyone aware of changes that will affect some of you regarding school transportation.

Until this year, USD 114 has run five bus routes before and after school to transport students. Unfortunately, we currently have three drivers resulting in us having to combine five bus routes into three. As you can imagine, this has been a challenging task, and it will undoubtedly inconvenience some families. However, until we have applicants and can hire more drivers, it is one that we have no choice other than to make and implement. If and when that time comes (hiring more drivers), we will reevaluate the situation and adjust.

Our Elwood routes will be combined into one route and will consist of three bus stops. Those three stops will be at 1) The park 2) 5th and Libel 3) The Trailer Park on Roseport Road.

We will also have three stops in Wathena. Those stops are 1) Community Center/Ballpark 2) Highway 36 Trailer Park 3) the corner of 4th St. (Library) and St. Joseph St. (Back-to-Health).

Pickup times will be posted next week. 

Transportation between the East and West campuses will continue. So, if your child attends school in the town in which you do not reside, you can bring them to the school building in your community and we will transport them across the district. You will not need to bring your child across the district to get them to school. Our doors open at 7:25 a.m. You are more than welcome to drop your child off at the closest school building and our staff will ensure they are well taken care of and safe.

Additionally, any student(s) that attend a state-licensed daycare will also be provided transportation.

It keeps getting better as I have even more good news concerning transportation. We have received notification from the Kansas Department of Education (KSDE) informing us of an existing order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been issued nationwide. The order applies to all students riding in school transportation wearing masks over their mouth and nose while being transported. Since this order is issued at a federal level, our school board does not have the authority to override this directive.

Within the building(s), USD 114 – Riverside will be "mask optional." I know what you're thinking, and I know what some of you will say. My response is, "I understand, and I do not disagree." I fully realize it is contradictory, but no one seems to be calling for my opinion.  

Please know that we are doing our best to make this fair and equitable in dealing with the current situation. I fully understand, appreciate, and empathize that this will upset or inconvenience some of you. If you have a situation that is unique please contact me directly at 913.365.5632 to determine if a reasonable solution can be reached. Social media strings and conversations on this post will only exacerbate the problem and not solve any individual issues or concerns.

Lastly, if a bus driving position is something you are interested in, please contact the district office at the above number or visit our website for an application.

Thank you for your time, and have a great weekend!

John Whetzal

Superintendent of Schools

USD 114 - Riverside