After announcing transportation services would be limited to special education routes as of Friday, Carson City School District Superintendent Richard Stokes said the limitations would continue Monday and Tuesday.
“Right now we’re looking at approximately 50% of staff able to work and if we have that kind of vacancies, we have drivers doubling back and making multiple runs, and it means kids are left at bus stops,” Stokes told reporters Friday.
Stokes said late Thursday, transportation department supervisor Cheri Fletcher said she would have difficulty finding enough drivers to drive students home. Staff members immediately began looking at options and began making calls to families about limiting services, he said.
“We are working with what we have and illnesses, absences by employees don’t happen on a 9 to 5 scale,” Stokes said. “Sometimes we don’t learn of these things until during the work day. Rather than leaving kids stranded or not being able to operate in a manner our patrons are used to, we felt it was in their best interest to limit services.”
The administration also makes similar calls in the event of inclement weather, he said. Often calls are made on short notice, and the district released a statement responding it seeks to provide as much information in advance as soon as possible, with parents expressing dissatisfaction having received 12 hours’ notice or less on Thursday.
District spokesman Dan Davis on Friday confirmed that of the estimated 8,000 Carson City students approximately 1,500 or 18%, are affected by the current loss of services.
The district has about 30 routes, with 20 being regular routes and 10 special needs routes.
The message originally went out to parents at about 4:20, Stokes said, and he noted CCSD’s system remains “robust.”
“We appreciate the dedication of our staff and really the flexibility and willingness of our families to work with us,” he said. “Things are going to change. We’ll try, I hope, to work with each other and come up with the best solutions, if we can, in these unprecedented times.”
Asked if the limitation of these services were expected to have an impact on other district services, he added, “Our folks have been stepping up across the board. Teachers have been working in positive ways they typically don’t have to prepare for. They’re rolling up their sleeves and trying to keep the schools open so we’re not having to go to full remote.”
According to Davis, as of Friday, parents and families should plan to transport their children to school on Monday and Tuesday.
Parents who have questions about their child’s academics or attendance are encouraged to contact their school.
“We are thankful for families and students who continue to exercise patience and kindness amid persistent staffing shortages. Families should plan to transport student(s) to and from school Monday and Tuesday. Buses will continue to operate for students with IEP’s (Individual Education Plans) specifically noting transportation needs,” the school district said in a release at 4:50 p.m. Friday.
“When we make tough decisions like limiting transportation services or closing schools, we understand the impact and inconvenience families experience. It is not something we take lightly. We know how difficult it can be to arrange rides, babysitters or daycare; so thank you for your patience.
If students are unable to get to and from school or if parents and families have questions about academic materials or attendance, they should contact their student’s school.”
The district continues to encourage parents, families and employees to conduct Daily Self-Screenings
. If any employee or student is actively exhibiting illness symptoms, the district encourages them to remain home. Please refer to the Revised Isolation and Quarantine Guidance
provided by the county health department.