Following the announcement that two staff members with Student Transportation of America (STA), the school bus contracting company for Montrose County School District, the district announced a temporary bus closure Friday.
According to a district press release, MCSD has worked with Montrose County Public Health to contact trace people who had close contact with the two staff members. Those people are seeking COVID-19 testing and will be in quarantine.
Out of an abundance of caution for all students and people riding school buses, the district asked that all 41 STA staff members seek testing Friday. The tests will be provided for free by Montrose County Public Health.
“Unfortunately, this week two STA employees, a driver and monitor, tested positive for COVID-19,” STA said in an official statement. “Per company protocol, the driver and monitor will self-quarantine for 14 days.”
STA has removed the affected buses from service for deep cleaning. STA has asked additional drivers to be tested and will not be able to return to work until they are cleared by their doctors.
“STA is dedicated to the health and safety of our employees, passengers and customers, while remaining committed to safely transporting students to and from school,” according to an STA statement.
The company has various policies and protocols in place during the pandemic for everyone’s safety. Those include drivers and monitors wearing face masks while operating a vehicle and interacting with others while on duty. High-touch areas of the vehicle are cleaned after every run with a CDC-approved disinfectant and sanitized with an antimicrobial agent.
While the staff seek testing and await results that show staff can safely return, school bus service will be temporarily unavailable.
“We understand the difficulty this creates for our bus riding families, but must prioritize student health and safety as our primary concern,” the district said in the release.
For families who are unable to transport students to and from school due to the bus closure, they will learn remotely starting Monday, Oct. 26 through Wednesday, Oct. 28. Bus operations may resume sooner if STA employees receive a negative test result.
Despite the impact to transportation Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, in-person instruction will continue as normal.
Families are encouraged to contact their school principal and teachers with questions.