More busing issues in Warwick after drivers test positive for COVID-19

Education

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Warwick parents received an email Tuesday morning saying both the morning and afternoon bus routes would be delayed by at least 15 minutes.

The delays affected nine buses and more than 800 students, according to the school district.

First Student, the bus company that brings Warwick students to and from school, tells 12 News they were short drivers because some tested positive for COVID-19.

“First Student was notified by two of its Warwick employees that they were COVID positive,” spokesperson Frank McMahon said. “First Student contacted all of its Warwick-based employees and encouraged them to get tested.”

“While school bus driver shortages have already been a significant challenge throughout the pandemic, First Student will continue to support its employees and coordinate with the school district to provide safe, reliable transportation,” he added.

The company said that in order to prevent a “wide-scale disruption,” it’s been working closely with the school district to ensure there are enough drivers and aides.

Earlier this month, all of the school buses in Warwick stopped running for one day due to a union labor issue.

The bus drivers’ union, ATU Local 618, said Tuesday that besides the coronavirus infections, there are no other issues regarding its members.

“We signed an extension and are meeting this week with First Student,” secretary treasurer Steven Sousa said. “I can assure there is no sick-out or strike at this time.”

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