Superintendent: 11 drivers unavailable, suspending 7 Shelton school bus runs

A City of Shelton school bus at Sunnyside Elementary School, in Shelton, Conn. Oct. 13, 2020.

A City of Shelton school bus at Sunnyside Elementary School, in Shelton, Conn. Oct. 13, 2020.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

With nearly a dozen drivers unavailable, seven school bus runs were suspended Monday morning, the superintendent said.

Eleven drivers were unavailable — including one who has tested positive for COVID-19, another who is quarantined and two others who have reported having fevers and are being tested — leaving seven bus runs without drivers, according to interim Superintendent Beth Smith.

The schools impacted were Shelton High, Shelton Intermediate School and Perry Hill School.

The loss of drivers only impacted the morning runs Monday, said Ken Nappi, head of the city-run Shelton Student Transportation Services, as the company adjusted schedules to allow for all afternoon runs to take place.

Smith said she was contacted by Shelton Student Transportation Services about 6 a.m., then had each building principal inform parents and staff.

“It’s all hands on deck,” Nappi said.

Nappi said the bus company hired two new drivers on Oct. 30 and is using dispatchers and the company managers to aid in filling openings. Nappi said the company is also dealing with non-COVID related virus issues — with three out on medical leave and two others who left for undisclosed reasons.

“Unforeseen things happen everyday ... the virus has added to that ... but I feel that we are doing a good job managing this situation,” Nappi said. “All bus companies are seeing the same issues.”

Nappi said a good working relationship between the bus company and the superintendent’s office has aided in bringing a quick resolution to any transportation issues.

The bus run suspension announcement Monday came only three days after the district closed Mohegan School after a community member tested positive and contact tracing was required before allowing students and some staff back into the building. Mohegan School is open Monday.

That positive test was followed by another case at Mohegan School reported Friday and two more of Shelton High community members over the weekend. In all, 21 individuals — including three reported on Monday afternoon — within the school district have tested positive since schools reopened in September.