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Bus Contingency Letter

On Sept. 28, the district sent a letter to families and staff about plans for managing a potential shortage of bus drivers due to illness this school year, as COVID, the flu and RSV circulate in our community. If you missed the communication, it is shared here:

Dear Portland Public Schools families and staff,

I am writing to share our plans for managing potential shortages of bus drivers due to illness. As we enter fall, COVID, the flu, and RSV are circulating in our community. If several of our bus drivers are sick at one time, we might have to cancel one or more of our daily yellow school bus runs or buses for after-school activities.

To minimize the likelihood of canceling routes this year, we have hired extra bus drivers to stand in for absent drivers. We have purchased several vans that allow us to run smaller, added routes when required. The administrators on our Transportation team are also licensed bus drivers and cover routes. We also have agreements with local bus companies, which are able to cover some bus runs.

As we have done previously, if it becomes necessary to cancel routes, we will put in place a rotating schedule of which buses will be canceled. We will continue to prioritize special education transportation to minimize disruption to those students. In the event that a bus is canceled, affected families will receive robocall messages via SchoolMessenger early in the morning. 

We ask that you take the following actions:

●      Make sure your child’s school has your updated contact information

●      Consider alternate ways to get to school – carpooling and joining Walking School Bus groups

If your bus is canceled and no alternatives are available, we will be making free METRO rides available to impacted elementary and middle school students.

●      Guide for elementary and middle school students on on how to ride METRO

●      Note that a guardian must accompany any student below 6th grade

We know how important bus transportation is to our families. We will only cancel buses if absolutely necessary and we will communicate with you as early as possible if this occurs.

Thank you for your ongoing partnership in supporting our students’ daily attendance at school.


Sarah C. Warren, Ed.L.D.

Executive Director, Operations