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CT braces for school bus driver shortage |  Connecticut News

NEWINGTON, CT. (WFSB) – Connecticut is bracing for a shortage of bus drivers.

Hundreds of drivers are threatening not to show up due to COVID vaccine / test warrant.

First Student bus driver Carolyn Pattrell said bus drivers should be able to make their own decisions and don’t think they should be mandated to do anything.

On Monday, children may not be required to attend school, take extended trips or travel on a combination bus as school bus drivers push back the state’s immunization mandate.

Pattrell said, “I want to let all parents know that we are not trying to end their lives. This is not our goal. we want to do our job. We love our children.

It requires them to be fully vaccinated or to undergo weekly covid tests starting next week.

“I took the test under duress because I needed my job. I don’t think it should be mandatory, ”Pattrell said.

She has been driving for 17 years and said it has been a stressful year already: “We can’t even afford one person to call. “

Many of his colleagues aren’t planning to return anytime soon.

She said she wasn’t sure exactly what was going to happen on Monday.

The CT School Transportation Association has estimated that more than 300 drivers will not show up, in addition to the 800 and more vacant positions they already have.

M&J BUS INC. COO, Jon Hipsher, said, “It’s going to be a bit chaotic on Monday, more chaotic than in the last few weeks of school. “

He wants the governor to drop the drivers’ tenure or give them more time to come up with a plan, “to put this stress and pressure on school bus operators and drivers with little time, it puts us in a situation. critical. major drawback.

DATTCO has said it will not remove non-compliant drivers from routes unless districts request it.

In response, a spokesperson for the governor’s office said, “School bus drivers are employed by the districts, not the state. Thus, the responsibility lies with the local employer for compliance. “

Parents we spoke with said bus drivers have to follow the rules.

Robin Ross said: “I think everyone needs to be vaccinated. “

Carl Wilson agreed, “We did vaccines for polio, chickenpox, all these diseases, so what’s another vaccine?

Hipscher said he told his drivers about free test sites statewide, but 15-20% of drivers do not plan to comply.