COVID-19-related school bus driver absences affect numerous Mississauga, Brampton routes

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Published January 24, 2022 at 1:10 pm

Numerous school bus routes are being temporarily cancelled at both school boards in Mississauga and Brampton as COVID-19 continues to take its toll on bus drivers.

Officials with Student Transportation of Peel Region (STOPR), which transports tens of thousands of students daily at both the Catholic and public school boards in Mississauga and Brampton, say they continue to experience a “higher-than-normal rate of driver absences due to illness and self-isolation related to COVID-19.”

In a statement/update posted to social media, STOPR says: “Our bus companies are utilizing spare drivers to cover off medical leaves, appointments, vacations and as a last resort, STOPR is still having to cancel some routes/runs on a temporary basis. If a bus route/run is cancelled due to COVID-19, it will be cancelled consecutively for approximately 5 to 10 days.”

Officials say all cancelled routes/runs will be posted on the STOPR website as soon as possible, and parents and students should check the website daily. The “delayed buses” page should be monitored for the latest information on both morning and afternoon routes/runs.

“It is important that parents/guardians monitor both their morning and afternoon transportation as some students travel to school in the morning on one bus route/run and then travel home in the afternoon on a different bus route/run,” STOPR officials say. “Therefore, it is possible that your transportation may be cancelled in the morning, but not in the afternoon or vice versa.”

Parents and guardians can create an online account with STOPR and sign up to receive automatic “transportation alerts.” The alerts include information on late and cancelled routes/runs in addition to when temporarily cancelled routes will be back on the road.

Last fall, the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board alone lost 40 school bus drivers due solely to its COVID-19 vaccination mandate.

The subsequent driver shortage left officials scrambling to make sure they could get students to and from classes on time. 

STOPR reported at the time to Catholic school board staff that, “…the spare driver pool has been almost entirely exhausted” as they sought to cover the loss of regular drivers.

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