Berkeley Unified School District is temporarily suspending general bus service this week amid a series of COVID-19 exposures to transportation staff, officials confirmed in an email to parents Friday.
A series of communications to parents of BUSD elementary students over the weekend confirmed bus routes will be suspended from Monday through Thursday of this week. Three separate COVID-19 exposures among transportation staff found Thursday, Friday and Saturday put most of the department in quarantine
BUSD spokesperson Trish McDermott believes routes should be back to normal by the end of the week.
“We understand that this does cause hardship, and we apologize for the inconvenience,” McDermott said. “We will continue to monitor attendance at our elementary schools.”
11 out of the district’s 21 bus drivers are in quarantine, according to McDermott. They are joined by a dispatcher and a scheduler, who have acted as substitute drivers throughout the pandemic.
McDermott added that bus routes are currently still operating for students with an individualized education plan that is inclusive of transportation. Additionally, tardiness is being excused for impacted students for the duration of the cancellation.
The school reports that there has not been any significant drop in attendance among the students affected. Monday’s attendance rate was only 1% lower than the previous week’s average.
“Based on the length of the quarantine our drivers are under, we expect most will be returning by Friday,” McDermott said. “We expect to update families as we learn more. We will do that as soon as possible. If the timeline changes in any direction, we will let families know in advance.”