November 3, 2020
BPS Families and Staff,
Today’s unexpected cancellation of school is a reminder of the ever-present reality of the impact COVID-19 can have on our ability to maintain normal school operations. Despite multiple protocols to protect our transportation employees from exposure, late yesterday afternoon, six BPS bus drivers were deemed to have been in close contact with a COVID-positive individual and have been quarantined until Friday, November 13. Unlike teachers and some support staff, the district does not have adequate substitute drivers to accommodate this loss while maintaining bus service for over 2,000 student riders.
Rather than burden the families of children on these seven routes by suspending their bus service for the next two weeks, we have developed an alternate schedule that more equitably shares this impact. Similar to the “rolling blackout” strategy used by power companies during peak energy use, this schedule will ask all families to make alternate arrangements for transportation on one or two days only. On the other days, students will ride their normal bus, but possibly with a different driver. Pickup and drop-off times will not be affected.
The modified schedule will reduce one bus route for each elementary site each day. Again, there are a few route changes which will impact families twice due to other, already-scheduled obligations. Those buses are shown in BOLD. The table below shows the new schedule which will run through next Thursday, Nov. 12. Buses listed for each day will NOT run any routes, elementary or secondary. We anticipate a return to our normal transportation schedule on Friday, Nov. 13.
While it might have been possible for many of our students to continue with distance learning today, there was not adequate time for teachers to ensure we could provide meaningful instruction for all students due to the late notification. The district is developing detailed instructional plans to address emergency closures (including weather) so this can be avoided in the future. These plans will be shared with families in the next few weeks.
The district remains focused on doing all we can to keep our schools open while also protecting the health and safety of our students and staff. Even with extensive and detailed planning, disruptions to our school calendar - like today’s - are sometimes unavoidable. We understand the challenges that these decisions create for our BPS families and greatly regret the inconvenience.