PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The school department and Providence police will be working together Thursday, hoping to keep things running smoothly at and around city schools as a driver strike left school buses idle Thursday morning.
Members of Teamsters Local 295 walked off the job Thursday morning, leaving 9,000 students without a ride to school and their parents scrambling to find other transportation.
The school department said students will not get in trouble if they are late or miss school due to the strike.
When you go to @pvdschools websites, this message pops up alerting parents of what’s going on. REMEMBER PARENTS: you need to notify schools of who is picking up your child. @wpri12 pic.twitter.com/JpftCWGRop— Kait Walsh (@KaitLouiseWalsh) September 27, 2018
Providence police have promised extra officers at schools. Officers will also be patrolling the city to make sure children have not been abandoned at bus stops.
Police will also be handling expected excess car and pedestrian traffic.
Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare says it takes a team effort to make sure the day goes smooth.
“We need to be ready, so when bus drivers strike our children are cared for, feel safe,” Pare says. “If some of our students need guidance, there’ll be an official, fire department, working hand in hand with the police department.”
The superintendent of Providence says parents of students with disabilities would be reimbursed for the costs of transportation.
Some parents who are affected by this say that isn’t enough. Eyewitness News caught up with some who said the city is responsible for children’s transportation both to and from school. One parent says their son uses a wheelchair and relies on a handicap accessible bus to school since the family doesn’t have a car.
A hotline has been set up for parents who may have questions about the strike. That number is 401-919-5271.