On Nov. 1, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools began offering evening buses for middle and high school students who want to participate in after-school programs. One bus per school leaves each middle school at 5:35 p.m. and each high school at 6:35 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
The district said it implemented the program to make it easier on students to join sports, clubs, arts and other activities and that transportation home should not be a barrier for families.
Andy Jenks, the chief communications officer for CHCCS, said the Board of Education considered input from the community that evening buses would be a good idea and then collaborated with CHCCS administrative leadership to put a plan in place.
“No student should have to decline participation in sports or after-school activities or other extracurriculars because a ride home might be a question,” Jenks said.
He said the decision to extend bus services has been well-received by the community and that the district needs community members to help spread the word that this will be an option for families throughout the year.
“Once we get the word out, and people are sharing information about it, we're going to be thrilled to have increased participation in a variety of activities and extracurricular things. We're really proud of that as a district and we hope our community is proud of that as well,” Jenks said.
Elizabeth Anderson, the director of the NC Center for After School Programs at the Public School Forum, said after-school programs expand the learning day for students.
She said these programs provide a place for students to get additional academic support, participate in enrichment activities, and develop social and emotional skills that will help them to function in the world.
They also serve as a safe place for children to be looked after while their parents are working, she said.