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School Bus Operations 'Smoother Than Expected' As Vaccine Mandate Goes Into Effect

A school bus drops off students in Nashville, Tenn., where the city's school district has experienced one of the worst shortages of drivers in the country.
A school bus drops off students in Nashville, Tenn., where the city's school district has experienced one of the worst shortages of drivers in the country.

Schools and bus vendors expected the worst Monday morning with the anticipation that hundreds of bus drivers wouldn’t show up to work, but the day ended up bringing few disruptions.

Because of the governor’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which took effect Monday, many bus drivers who don’t want to get vaccinated or tested are refusing to drive children to school. Families were asked by school officials over the weekend to be patient with delayed bus routes.

But several school districts, including Stamford Public Schools, said they didn’t experience disruptions related to the walkout. Hartford Public Schools also said previously that they’d been working closely with their bus vendors and didn’t expect any additional problems.

Ann Baldwin, a spokesperson for the Connecticut School Transportation Association, said the hard work of the bus companies paid off as they anticipated the problem and made plans to get kids to school.

“They’ve also made it very clear that they are going to follow the law, and as of today, the mandate stated that if you’re not vaccinated and if you don’t comply to weekly testing, then you’re out of a job,” Baldwin said.

The association will continue to work closely with school districts, bus companies and local businesses to make it easier for people to apply and get drivers on the road faster. Bus companies have also created various incentives to encourage people to apply and become bus drivers.

“Everyone is scrambling and doing whatever they can because their main priority is to get these kids to and from school,” Baldwin said.

The governor’s vaccine mandate applies to school bus drivers, teachers and other state employees.

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