CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) — Charleston County School District (CCSD) officials are finalizing bus routes and addressing concerns about delays in preparation for the first day of school.

CCSD officials predict over 360 of their buses will take between 16,000 and 18,000 students to 78 different schools each day, making over 5,000 stops along the way.

“Right now, it’s just a lot of prep work and making sure that day one goes off smoothly,” said James Lynch, CCSD’s executive director of student transportation. “Buses are getting checked out from the state. We’re making sure that there they can all run accordingly for the first day.”

Lynch reminds parents to register their students and request bus stop now, so the district has time to prepare for their transportation needs.

“It’s not as simple as people think, that you can just add a bus stop, and implement that bus stop the next day. It doesn’t work that way,” Lynch said.

CCSD encourages parents and students to use the district’s Bus Stop Lookup Tool and view bus tracking notifications on the First View app to locate bus stops nearby and receive updates on the status of their child’s bus in real time. Click here for more information.

“If a bus is delayed, or if a bus route is being doubled up due to a staffing shortage, it allows parents to receive that message and be notified in a timely manner, so they can make plans accordingly,” he said.

This is the third year CCSD has worked with bus company First Student, Lynch said. The district is pleased the company has recruited enough drivers to cover their routes amidst a nationwide bus driver shortage.

To prepare for the upcoming year, Lynch advises students to arrive ten minutes early to their bus stop each morning, and asks parents to discuss bus safety and behavior in advance.

“I ask parents to please talk to their kids about safety when it comes to entering and exiting a bus,” Lynch said. “Student behavior has a significant impact on driver retention.”

During the first few weeks of school, Lynch said he asks parents for their patience with bus routes and delays.

According to CCSD’s website, Charleston County is the second largest school system in South Carolina and encompasses 1,300 square miles.