MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - COVID-19 has almost shut down one department within the Montgomery public school system.
More than half the employees with the transportation department are under quarantine. It’s a concern for some bus drivers, especially with the start of school right around the corner.
Sadie Jones has been driving a school bus for 25 years.
“We got people on our buses with health issues and we want to make sure they are safe,” said Jones.
Some feel their safety and the safety of students is in jeopardy after learning that half of the staff at the system’s transportation department is being quarantined until Oct. 19 and drivers are scheduled to pick up students for school Oct. 13.
“We want answers as to how we’re going to operate with no supervision,” said Remi Williams, a special needs bus driver.
Chad Anderson, the executive director for transportation, said he couldn’t comment on why the department was placed on quarantine but said they were only following protocol.
We do know the quarantine affects at least three mechanics and several administrators in the transportation department.
According to Anderson, the administrators will work from home using two-way radios and cellphones. He also says they will have at least one mechanic on hand from Southland International in case of any emergencies.
Anderson also says Montgomery Public Schools will follow state guidelines to make sure drivers are safe, starting with sanitizing each bus before and after each route and making sure every driver receives the proper personal protective equipment.
“We provided each driver with a face shield, mask, emergency mask and gloves. sanitizer and disinfectant a personal bottle they can use as well," said Anderson.
The drivers will also receive PPE before they head out on their route.
Some of the drivers did meet with members of the transportation department Thursday and they still feel uncomfortable starting their routes before the transportation department is fully staffed.