Scotia-Glenville School District families were told to expect bus delays this week, as the district scrambles to cover routes due to sick bus drivers.
The district notified families of the delays Monday morning after eight of the district's 35 bus drivers called in sick with the flu. Like other districts in the region, Scotia-Glenville was already struggling to fill driver vacancies and line up substitute drivers. But the wave of sickness exacerbated the district's shortage.
"The Scotia-Glenville School District continues to grapple with a bus driver shortage," the district wrote in a note to parents. "We anticipate continued adjustments to bus routes for the remainder of the week due to driver and substitute illness."
District spokesman Bob Hanlon said it was not possible to specify when or on what routes delays are likely, or how late parents should expect buses to arrive. He said the district is combining routes and relying on help from drivers in neighboring districts this week.
"We are assuming it is going to stay the same all week," he said. "We want to give parents a heads up that there is potential your child's bus may be late today."
Hanlon said the district has been working this year to find and hire more bus drivers and substitutes, raising driver pay, increasing advertising for the positions and giving out signing bonuses.
Flu-related illness has impacted other districts this winter, as it continues to spread at the worst levels seen in at least a decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Mekeel Christian Academy closed last week because so many students and staff called in sick on Monday. Other districts are redoubling efforts to disinfect school buildings.
In the week that ended Feb. 3, the number of flu cases in the state shot up 35 percent, and there have been three pediatric deaths attributed to the flu so far this season in New York state.