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Welcome back! The first day of school is September 8, 2021.

This section includes helpful resources to ensure that you and your child are ready for the first day of school. Find all of your back-to-school information, including bus stop information, open house and registration events, immunization clinics and more. For school supply lists, visit your child’s school website.

What’s new in 2021-22?

  • Free meals will continue through 2021-22 school year for all students. 

School Start and End Times for 2021-22

Elementary Schools

  • Early Start (Pinewood, Southview, Highland and Deerwood): 7:45 a.m. - 2:05 p.m.
  • Late Start: 9:30 a.m. - 3:50 p.m.

Middle Schools

  • 8:20 a.m. - 3:10 p.m.
  • Valley Middle School of STEM: 7:55 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.

High Schools

  • 7:40 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
  • School of Environmental Studies: 7:45 a.m. - 2:15 p.m.
  • Area Learning Center: TBD


Postcards were mailed August 31 to families of students eligible to receive transportation to and from school during the 2020-21 school year.

The postcard includes information on bus stop locations and pick-up/drop-off times. Parents and guardians who do not receive a postcard and believe their child is eligible to receive transportation can call the Transportation Department at 651-423-7685. The district also offers optional transportation service for a fee for students who do not qualify based on the current service distances; for more information, visit the Transportation Department page.

Bus stop information is also available through the Infinite Campus Parent portal. Click on “More,” then “Transportation.” This information is updated nightly to reflect any changes to bus routes and stops.

Optional transportation service for a fee is available to families whose children are not eligible for free transportation based on current service distances.

Optional bus service is $300 for the entire school year

The annual cost is $300 per student, with a $600 family maximum. Families whose children qualify to receive free or reduced-price school meals receive the service for a discounted rate. State law requires districts to provide transportation for students living two miles or more from their school and for students who receive special education services and require transportation as part of their individual education program. Districts are allowed to charge a fee for transportation provided within the two-mile minimum radius, except transportation for individuals with special needs.

District 196 offers better service than required by state law. The starting point for elementary service is one mile from school and for middle school and high school service it is one and one-half miles. Students living within these distances from their school are not eligible for free transportation, except those who would, if they were to walk to school, need to cross a railway or roadway defined by district regulation as hazardous. Families whose children are not eligible for free transportation service based on distance or hazardous crossings have the option to purchase it.

For more information, visit the Transportation Department page or call 651-423-7685.

staying safe and healthy

Now, more than ever, the partnership between parents, drivers and staff will be essential to keeping everyone safe. District 196 Transportation Services Department will implement the following measures in order to keep students and staff as safe as possible while using district transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Our transportation employees needs the support of the families to ensure social distancing at the bus stop prior to the arrival of the bus; proper health screening prior to boarding; and reinforcing expectations for student behavior while on the bus.
  • It is the parent / caregiver’s responsibility to conduct a thorough health screening of their child following symptoms and screening protocol, prior to placing them on the bus.  If the child is symptomatic or has been exposed to an individual who has COVID-19, they should remain at home and not board the bus.

Bus ride requirements including boarding, seating and school arrival

  • All persons driving or riding in a school transportation vehicle must wear a face covering.  
  • The bus will be limited to 50% of maximum capacity to create separation to the greatest extent possible, recognizing that it is not always feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing on a school bus. 
  • Students from the same household are encouraged to sit together.
  • Students will load the bus from back to front leaving the seat immediately behind the driver open and unload from front to back.
  • Drivers will direct students in the seating process the first few days to maximize social distancing.
  • Windows and roof hatches will be opened to the extent weather permits to increase airflow and circulation.

Cleaning and Disinfecting procedures and processes

  • Buses will be cleaned and disinfected regularly using disinfectant products that are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for effective use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.  The cleaning will focus on frequent cleaning of touched surfaces in the vehicle (e.g., surfaces near the driver’s seat, hard seats, door handles, seat belt buckles, doors and windows, grab handles) between routes.
  • Doors and windows will be open when cleaning the vehicle and between trips to let the vehicles thoroughly air out.