Woolwich & Wellesley Township's Local Community Newspaper | Elmira, Ontario, Canada
Help
Follow

A little more local for your inbox.

Seven days. One newsletter. Local reporting about people and places you
won't find anywhere else. Stay caught up with The Observer This Week.

Enter your email to subscribe. Unsubscribe anytime. We may send you promotional messages.
Please read our privacy policy.

Bus route cancellations on the rise due to COVID-19

Some school bus routes are going unserviced at times because of the number of drivers absent due to COVID-19. [Leah Gerber]

More school bus routes are being cancelled or delayed throughout Waterloo Region as drivers are forced to isolate due to COVID-19.

Last week there were seven cancellations alone, said Benoit Bourgault, general manager of the Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region in an email to the Observer.

The measure to cancel bus routes due to COVID-19-related absenteeism was implemented as a last resort on January 24 this year, and was expected to end in February, according to a January news release from Student Transportation Services.

Since January there have been 36 route cancellations due to drivers isolating because of COVID-19, whereas earlier in March there were weeks with no cancellations, Bourgault said.

Cancellations last for an average of three days.

Families are receiving one day of notice. Student Transportation Services notifies the schools about the next day’s cancelled routes in the afternoon, and school staff let parents know.

Cancelled routes and their duration are also posted by 4:30 p.m. on the Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region website. Parents and caregivers can also register for notifications on the organization’s online parent portal.

Affected students can learn from home with their class’s virtual learning environment (D2L or Google Classroom) or access lessons from TVOlearn.com. Parents can also find another way to get their kids to and from school.

As part of these coping measures, bus drivers are covering late bus routes in addition to their usual routes.

“We want to thank the school bus drivers for their hard work and support in these difficult times, they have gone over and above to support the families and continue to ensure the safe travel to and from school,” said Bourgault.

“Efforts to recruit and train new drivers are ongoing,” he explained. “The pandemic has caused the operators to fall behind since during the stay at home periods they were not able to recruit or train.”

Additionally, recruiting and retaining drivers has been more difficult than normal because of the higher risk involved in the work, he said.

Anyone who is a safe driver, likes children, wants to contribute to the community and earn supplemental income is encouraged to apply to school bus companies who are seeking drivers, says Bourgault. 

A little more local for your inbox.

Seven days. One newsletter. Local reporting about people and places you
won't find anywhere else. Stay caught up with The Observer This Week.

Enter your email to subscribe. Unsubscribe anytime. We may send you promotional messages.
Please read our privacy policy.

Total
0
Shares



Related Posts
Total
0
Share