WESTFIELD, Ind- On Tuesday, Westfield Washington schools notified parents that 4 bus drivers have tested positive for COVID 19, 2 days before school is set to begin.
“It seems like there’s cases in every school that’s starting,” said parent April Mitchell. “To see that in our own school is a little alarming.”
The school district says the drivers and close contacts have all been isolated, but that has now led to a shortage of drivers.
“The first week in transportation is always the trickiest,” said Westfield Washington bus driver Katie Jones.
For bus drivers like Katie Jones, the start of the year is challenging enough. Now some of her coworkers will be doing double-duty.
“What they’ll do is those that have the shortest bus routes, will run their route, drop their kids off, they’ll probably go through and Lysol the bus and then they’ll start, and they’ll take a route,” Jones said.
She expects some routes to run roughly 20 minutes late. The district says they will be notifying the affected students and they won’t be marked tardy.
On top of extra cleaning, Jones must assign seats, keep kids socially distant and make sure they wear their masks, all while keeping her eyes on the road.
“The masks do make it a little more difficult, but it’s just one extra layer. It’s something we’ve got to do,” Jones said.
Despite the challenges, Jones feels buses are safe and says her district is doing everything right to get kids, including her own, back to school. Although concerned, parents are ready for school to resume.
“I’m for it,” Mitchell said. “I think the kids need to go back to school.”
Jones says the district is also supplying her and other drivers with extra masks, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies.