6,700 Seattle students now without school bus service thanks to COVID-19 vaccine mandates
By Cassie B. // Oct 20, 2021

Seattle schoolchildren are going to have a much more difficult time getting to school thanks to the vaccine tyranny overtaking the state of Washington.


Starting this week, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) are suspending more than 100 bus routes due to a shortage of bus drivers that is largely caused by the state's COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Roughly 142 of the 600 bus routes in the district will be suspended in a move that will impact nearly 7,000 students.

Under the vaccine mandate instituted by Governor Jay Inslee, all school district employees must be vaccinated or they face losing their jobs, and this includes third-party contractors like First Student, the vendor that provides bus service to the district's students.

First Student had already been experiencing a shortage of drivers, and the mandate has pushed them into an untenable situation. The district has stated that the impacted routes are suspended indefinitely until more drivers can be hired.

The school district is looking at having students use public transport in order to make it to their classes on time, with SPS Assistant Superintendent of Operations Fred Podesta stating: "It’s our hope that the staffing shortages faced by First Student will be resolved as quickly as possible so we can resume – and improve upon – all bus service. In the meantime, we are actively looking for alternative solutions to this challenge, such as the expanded provision of ORCA transit passes for middle school students, and other modes of transportation."

The district has said that students whose right to school transport is protected by law can expect to continue receiving bus service. This includes those experiencing homelessness, foster students, students who receive special education services that include transportation, students attending schools at interim sites, students with a 504 plan that includes transportation, and schools serving historically underserved students.

The principal of Seattle’s Greenwood Elementary School sent a letter to parents explaining that the school’s general education bus routes would no longer be in service. Interestingly, the letter said that the problem was caused by the district's “bus shortage,” but the local media has been quick to point out that the real issue is the vaccine mandate.

Many parents don't have a problem with unvaccinated bus drivers

Unfortunately, many students will now have to walk a far distance to school and cross several dangerous intersections on foot. When Seattle’s winter weather sets in, it will be even more challenging for students. However, public transportation brings its own set of concerns; many parents are rightfully uncomfortable with the idea of having their children ride a public bus.

The mother of a fifth grader at Greenwood Elementary School told KIRO 7 that she feels it's more dangerous for students to have to walk to school than to drive with a non-vaccinated bus driver. Kirsten Finn stated: “It’s way more of a risk in my opinion for them to be crossing busy intersections to get here than for them to be driving with an unvaccinated bus driver.”

Finn, who is a nurse, pointed out that there are other ways that students could be kept safe on the bus: “If you don’t have a vaccinated bus driver and you’re really concerned, you could put in a Plexiglas divider. You know, you could drive the bus with the windows open. All the kids have masks on already."

The situation is yet another example of how vaccine mandates are hitting poorer communities and minorities particularly hard. In more affluent neighborhoods, there may be multiple stay-at-home parents who are able to pitch in and help bring kids to school when bus service is unavailable. This is not the case, however, for many lower-income students.

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