STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Utica Schools must postpone hybrid learning plan

The Utica City School District will not start implementing in-person hybrid learning next week as planned, due to a bus driver shortage.

Posted: Oct 27, 2020 10:14 PM

UTICA, N.Y. - The Utica City School District will not start implementing in-person hybrid learning next week as planned, due to a bus driver shortage.

According to district officials, Birnie Bus, the company that provides transportation for the Utica schools, says they don't have enough drivers for the increased number of routes required for social distancing on buses.

The district's hybrid plan was supposed to start with 127 bus routes to accommodate two cohorts of elementary students and right now, they only have 96 drivers. They are 31 drivers short.

Plus, the company does not have substitute drivers and they should have a 15% overage of substitute coverage or at least 19 drivers in addition to the 31 drivers they are currently short.

According to the company, they are 50 drivers short including the 31 bus routes that are not covered and the approximate 19 drivers necessary for adequate substitute coverage.

District superintendent, Bruce Karam says without the company's ability to fulfill their contractual obligations by ensuring the 127 drivers necessary to transport elementary students, along with a contingency plan for the required number of substitute drivers, the school district will not be able to begin their phased-in hybrid plan.

"It's disappointing," Karam said. "We were prepared, we've done everything we needed to do but the bus company did not have sufficient drivers in order to meet all the routes that are necessary to pick up the students and over 75% of our students are bused, so you're looking at between 4,000 to 5,000 students for elementary only."

Steven Falchi, administrative director of curriculum and instruction, says the bus company previously assured the district that they had enough drivers.

“This information is contrary to what company officials had told the district during planning meetings that were held throughout the summer and into September," Falchi said. "There were eight planning meetings with Birnie Bus since July. Throughout the summer, the number of bus drivers had steadily increased to well over 100 with 25 to 30 additional drivers on a call back list according to company management.”

Until the company can guarantee sufficient drivers to provide necessary transportation, Utica students will continue with remote instruction only.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1650303

Reported Deaths: 47719
CountyCasesDeaths
Queens2118128784
Kings2109509118
Suffolk1628183086
Nassau1486692918
Bronx1445195881
Westchester1078572101
New York1039223906
Erie654191603
Richmond572011579
Monroe52679991
Rockland38628889
Orange37059720
Onondaga32452630
Dutchess22387408
Albany20890332
Oneida19735478
Niagara15324312
Broome14870336
Saratoga11970145
Schenectady10842178
Ulster10069228
Rensselaer9039132
Putnam836986
Chautauqua7336123
Chemung6440130
Oswego600289
Ontario580188
St. Lawrence553285
Steuben5509137
Cayuga537988
Jefferson480663
Sullivan475559
Herkimer4561107
Wayne447364
Cattaraugus442076
Genesee4411118
Madison384885
Clinton361026
Livingston355056
Tompkins345742
Columbia340096
Fulton333784
Montgomery3190107
Cortland316760
Allegany290481
Warren284155
Wyoming282049
Tioga280656
Greene264871
Orleans245181
Chenango243969
Otsego235543
Washington234352
Franklin208712
Lewis206730
Seneca162053
Delaware151933
Essex134226
Schoharie121012
Yates101426
Schuyler86812
Hamilton2842
Unassigned221140
Out of NY0192
Rome
Clear
17° wxIcon
Hi: 21° Lo: 5°
Feels Like: 0°
Binghamton
Partly Cloudy
16° wxIcon
Hi: 24° Lo: 7°
Feels Like: 1°
Rome
Clear
17° wxIcon
Hi: 21° Lo: 7°
Feels Like: 0°
Rome
Clear
17° wxIcon
Hi: 16° Lo: -4°
Feels Like: 0°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Submit your Mutt Madness Picture through March 10th
March into Beautiful Skin Giveaway
2021 Golfer's Paradise Card - 21 Courses for only $99.99
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve