If you’ve ever had a child in elementary school, you know that dismissal time can be pure chaos. Often, children are just pouring out of the building with no apparent sense of order.

The parents stand there, dumbfounded, just hoping that they can pick their own child out of the wild throng surging towards them.

As Christina Antus over at Scary Mommy said, “Less planning and strategy went into trailblazing the Oregon Territory than what is needed to teach parents the execution of a very basic task known as the school drop-off and pickup line.”

Sadly, this is not an exaggeration. For many schools across the country, it is the scary reality.

We’ve been helping administrators around the world make pickup time a safer time through the use of technology. Today, we’re going to tell you about some of the common issues we see, and how EdTech can help fix them.


Safety and School Dismissal

Aside from being a logistical nightmare, traditional means of school pickup also pose several safety issues.

For the vast majority of schools, pick-up time is a congested, chaotic mess. Hundreds of cars are trying to get to the same place at the same time, and an equal number of children are milling about—either on or near the parking lot.

It’s a perfect storm sort of situation–and it poses a danger to everyone involved. Rushing parents risk getting into accidents, while children are in danger of darting in front of moving vehicles.  

For many schools, the problem is that there aren’t adequate policies (or any policies at all) addressing student dismissal. And often, even if there is a policy, it’s not properly enforced.

Schools need to take charge of these situations to ensure the safety of the children. Issues such as pick-up locations, dismissal times, and procedures for younger children need to be made clear, right up front.

Luckily, new technology is making that easier than ever before.


How Can EdTech Help?

From traffic congestion to cleaner air, technology is helping to improve the after-school pickup line. Here’s how:


#1 Car pick-up lines – If ever you see a parent losing their cool at school, it’ll likely be in the pick-up line. There, it seems like no matter how early or late you show up, you still end up waiting 40 minutes for your child to actually get in the car. Apps like PikMyKid are revolutionizing the process by streaming live updates to both parents and dispatchers. Using geofencing software, dispatchers are instantly alerted when a parent enters the queue and can adjust the children accordingly.


#2 - Idling cars On a related note, all of those cars idling in line are a danger to children’s health. A 2017

study by the University of Toronto found that students who linger around school pick-up zones breathe in elevated levels of pollution, setting them up for health problems later in life. When parents are able to be positioned appropriately in line, and they don’t spend as much time idling around, that problem is eliminated.


#3 - Non-traditional means of transportation – Typically, most students either take the bus to school or get dropped off by a parent. Encouraging them to walk or bike would eliminate many traffic problems and would also be beneficial for their health and wellness.


School districts around the world are already encouraging students to take up non-traditional means of transportation. In the U.K., the Living Streets nonprofit is urging children to hit the pavement by offering challenges and motivation–and many other communities are doing the same. Apps can be used to follow their progress (like steps taken) and offer incentives, as well as track their location so they don’t wander off course.


#4 - Carpooling – Ridesharing, while not typically used in this sense, is a good all-around solution to many after-school pick-up problems. When parents take turns dropping off and picking up each other’s children it:

  • Reduces the number of cars on the road and improves congestion

  • Lowers the number of cars sitting in line, improving air quality

  • Decreases the amount of money parents are spending on gas (and saves them stress!)

Apps can be used to help parents connect with one another, create a carpool schedule, and make adjustments as needed.


#5 - Adjusting pick-up instructions – When a parent needs to adjust their child’s pick-up in any way (say, if a grandparent is picking them up after school, or they need to leave early for a doctor appointment), it’s usually done via note. This is a highly unreliable method, as children often misplace things–and even if they don’t, their teacher might. With the help of apps such like PikMyKid, parents can avoid lost notes and forgotten phone calls by transmitting instructions digitally–at any time of day.


Final Thoughts

School dismissal software is the solution to many after-school pick-up problems. It can help facilitate more organized pick-up lines, alternative transportation, and even allow parents to communicate directly with the school.

As the developers of PikMyKid, we’re on the forefront of the business–and we’d like to stay there. We are always looking for new ways to improve the system and help keep children safe. What app features do you think could help improve the pick-up process?

Published by Mohammad Shoaib