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Driver shortages have local school boards working on contingency plans

Local student transportation service said local schools may face bus delays and cancellations due to driver absences in relation to COVID
20210319 School Bus stop sign RV
GuelphToday file photo

With driver shortages affecting school bus routes, local school boards are working on plans to ensure student learning is unaffected. 

Last week, Wellington Dufferin Student Transportation Services (STWDSTS), which handles student transportation for both local boards, released a statement about the possibility of bus cancellations and delays due to a reduced pool of school vehicle drivers, spare drivers, and support staff at the school bus companies due to COVID isolation protocols.

Wellington Catholic District School Boards communication officer Ali Wilson said the board experienced some delays in the past week and in the event of transportation cancellations, schools have remained open to students. 

“We are currently reviewing protocols related to transportation services and considering various options to support continuity of learning for our students,” said Wilson. 

A STWDSTS statement said the cancellation of a school vehicle route is a last resort, however, “based on the current level of infection locally and provincially, cancellation of a school route is a definite possibility.”

“While local schools and board staff will employ numerous strategies to ensure that student safety is maintained, in some extreme cases, classes and/or schools may have to transition back to remote learning,” said a statement by STWDSTS last week urging families to check in with their school boards. 

UGDSB’s communications officer Heather Loney said the board is monitoring driver absences and bus delays on a daily basis. 

“We are currently working on contingency plans should a route not be able to be covered due to driver absences. We will have additional information about this finalized this week, however when it becomes clear that there are not a sufficient number of drivers to complete all routes, to every extent possible, families will be given advance notice in order to make arrangements,” said Loney. 

STWDSTS also said that routes may be delayed or cancelled for an extended period of five to 10 days and is urging parents to register for notifications on the parent portal or check the bus delays page for updated vehicle and route information. 


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Anam Khan

About the Author: Anam Khan

Anam Khan is a journalist who covers numerous beats in Guelph and Wellington County that include politics, crime, features, environment and social justice
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