No school bus service for Central Okanagan students in June

Global News

The Central Okanagan school board calls the choice to cancel school bus services in June a tough decision.

School District 23 board chairperson Moyra Baxter said students returning to class on June 1 will have to find an alternate way to get to school if they rely on district transportation.

Special education students are the exception and will still be picked up by district bus.

SD 23 estimates half of the district’s 23,000 students will be returning to classes the first week of June.

READ MORE: School back in session: Interior Health reassures parents, students and staff in letter

Some will attend on Mondays and Tuesdays, while others will attend Thursdays and Fridays for the remainder of the school year. Wednesdays will be dedicated to online learning from home.

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Free garden box initiative promoting home-grown produce in Penticton, B.C.
Free garden box initiative promoting home-grown produce in Penticton, B.C.

Baxter said logistically, it wasn’t possible to put a fleet of buses back on the road to accommodate the new school schedule.

Many bus drivers have been reassigned to help with cleaning duties in schools, she said.

“If they did go back [to driving buses] we would have to try and find other people to come in and clean,” Baxter said.

READ MORE: Overnight summer camps cancelled in B.C. due to COVID-19 concerns

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“The whole idea of it was suggested that we might want to put Plexiglas screens in [the buses] and we cannot do that without permission from Transport Canada,” she said.

“Even if we did want to do it we can’t possibly do it before schools starts next Monday.”

Families will receive a 30-per cent rebate for busing fees to make up for the lack of service between March and June.

Central Okanagan students have been out of classes since schools closed for spring break on March 13.

On March 17, the B.C. Education Minister said schools had to stay closed due to the pandemic.

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