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Barbour County Schools Transportation Dept. looking forward after covid outbreak amongst employees

Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 6:51 PM EDT
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PHILIPPI, W.Va (WDTV) - What started as preparation for the school year, quickly turned into the Barbour County Schools Transportation Department realizing a covid outbreak was happening.

“Two at a time, over the next five or six days, to the point where we had 16 or 17 bus drivers out of 34 that were not able to drive,” the director, Russ Collett said.

This leading to bus drivers doubling and sometimes even tripling up on runs just to make sure students were catered to.

Each bus driver is assigned anywhere from 15 to 80 students, so like recently, experiencing an outbreak can be a challenge, but Collett says they find a way to get through it.

“While it’s been stressful, I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with or for,” he said.

After continuous sanitizing and disinfecting, now a few weeks later, the transportation department is down to two bus routes that are without a driver.

Valarie Cross saw the eagerness to help amongst drivers firsthand as the supervisor, but also as someone who has the same mentality to step in when needed.

“We have so many helpful bus drivers that pick up the kids that aren’t their kids or stop at additional stops that aren’t their stops,” she said.

As the department continues to push forward through the pandemic and the constant need for drivers, no matter what, they always put students first.

“We take the attitude that our bus drivers are extremely important,” Collett said. “They’re the first person kids see and the last one they say goodbye to at night, and we hope to build strong relationships with them like that.”

The transportation department is also in need of bus drivers. Anyone who is interested can contact the office at 304-457-1289.

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