Southwest Vermont schools canceled amid bus driver shortage

Classroom Progress Report

BENNINGTON, Vt. (NEWS10) — Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union announced that school would be canceled for all staff and students (barring those in the Arlington District) due to an inability to provide bus transportation. 

School bus driver shortages plague schools across the country, but the issue has come to a head in Southwest Vermont.

Around 8 p.m. last night, SVSU surprised many with a post announcing a “no workday” for their students and staff. 

Hundreds of comments and shares revealed surprised parents, and many expressed confusion as to why school couldn’t be held for those children who had personal transportation. At the same time, others questioned how they were supposed to find last-minute childcare for the following workday.

Parents weren’t the only ones concerned. Isela Otero, a Sophomore at Mount Anthony Union High School, said she’s worried that closures will continue to disrupt her education. 

“It’s very frustrating and scary because I am trying really hard to not end up in the spot I was last year,” Otero said. 

Otero said her Freshman year was lost to COVID-19, and she struggled to stay focused. Conversely, this semester gave her hope—her grades and attendance have been up. 

She doesn’t understand why students who have means of transportation couldn’t attend class, although she’s grateful the school didn’t revert back to virtual learning.

“Personally, I do not like Zoom. It’s kind of like a PTSD thing,” Otero said. “It’s like, oh my god, is this going to happen? Is this going to be for the rest of the year again?”

However, that wasn’t the case. The SVSU announced on Facebook around 1 p.m. that the closure would only last for a day. The union pointed to their contracted bus driver company—Dufour Transportation—for the reasoning behind the cancelation. Too many drivers were out sick or on bereavement, yet bus routes will resume Wednesday as scheduled. 

News10’s Stephanie Rivas reached out to Dufour Transportation for comment and didn’t hear back. 

“We are hopeful this will not happen again. Dufour has been a trusted partner,” Katie West, Public Information Coordinator for SVSU, said. 

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