Sunday, October 17, 2021

Seattle Public Schools to Suspend 142 Bus Routes on Monday Due to Staff Shortage; Can You Guess Why?

Source: Q13FOX

Published: October 16, 2021

By: Staff-Published

SEATTLE - Seattle Public Schools announced on Friday that come Monday, 142 bus routes will be suspended as the district anticipates "a significant decrease in available bus drivers following the deadline for the COVID-19 vaccine mandate that takes place on Oct. 18."

This is not the first time the district has had to cancel or delay bus routes due to a staffing shortage. 

Seattle Public Schools contracts with First Student, a third-party vendor, for bus service. Like most school bus and transportation services throughout the country, First Student has been experiencing driver shortages, the district said. 

More driver shortages are expected on Oct. 18 when Washington state law requires all school district employees – including third-party contractors – to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

It's unknown exactly how many students will be impacted. Approximately 18,000 students are eligible to utilize SPS transportation services and approximately 6,740 students are eligible for the impacted routes, the district reported. 

Because of the irregularity of ridership, roughly half of those students who are transportation eligible do not regularly ride the bus, the district explained.

Special education, McKinney Vento (families experiencing homelessness) and foster students will not be impacted

There are 600 total routes district-wide, so only about 24% of the routes will be impacted.

"First, we would like to acknowledge what a difficult and challenging situation this has been. Inconsistent bus service is disruptive at many levels and we’re doing our best to make sure that students can get to and from school safely and as close to on time as possible," the district said in an update.

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