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School bus drivers not back to work, awaiting protocols for post-COVID transportation

Posted at 6:28 PM, Sep 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-03 23:28:39-04

NEW YORK CITY — With just two weeks until the start of school, New York city school bus drivers still haven't been called back to work since being furloughed with no health insurance due to the pandemic.

Three buses in the Bronx have been sitting idle since March. And this year, bus routes will be much different.

"You are going to have different kids on each bus social distancing and mark off seats. None of these protocols or instruction have been given to our members," said Michael Cordiello, the head of the bus drivers' union.

He met with city's Education Committee Chair, Councilman Mark Treyger, to air his concerns.

"Under normal circumstances, they would have contracts signed and draft routes by mid august to do tests and make tweaks and pick up kids on time," Treyger explained.

The city did not answer PIX11 News' question on when us drivers will be back on the road. They sent a statement.

"All individuals on the bus will wear face masks, and each bus will hold a quarter of its normal capacity, with students seated in every other row. Bus ventilation systems will operate in non-recirculate modes with windows opened whenever possible."

But the check list for bus drivers is much more complex and time to plan is running out.

"We need to be trained in the covid protocols," said Cordiello. "How are we separating children on a bus to keep social distancing? If anyone is sick, how do we make sure it's not circulating in the vehicle? How are we going to meet up with the parents and do our practice routes? How do we get to the schools and unloading and loading in the proper manor?"

The department of education says they are working with the MTA and TLC for more busing options but couldn't say at this point how many of those buses would be used.