Head Start preschool programs may now receive waivers from a 2001 federal requirement that students must wear proper restraints, such as seat belts, while being transported to and from the programs.
The exemptions to the federal regulation may now be granted if the local program demonstrates that compliance “will result in a significant disruption to the Head Start program,” and that waiving it “is in the best interest of the children involved,” according to a final regulation published by the Department of Health and Human Services in the Federal Register on Oct. 4.
The earlier Head Start regulation required that child transportation to a center be on school buses that have seat belts and at least one adult bus monitor on board.
A July report by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, indicated that local Head Start programs that apply for waivers often argue that the seat belts and monitors increase costs and reduce seating capacities, and put in jeopardy the programs’ partnerships with school districts that provide the buses.
A version of this article appeared in the October 11, 2006 edition of Education Week