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School Officials Say Full Return to School Causing Temporary Delays in Busing

For Burlington School Department leaders dealing with coordinating transportation as schools return to full in-person learning it feels a little like September in April.

During Tuesday night’s School Committee meeting, Superintendent Eric Conti and Director of Operations Bob Cunha gave an update on the busing situation now that Marshall Simonds Middle School has gone in-person all day, five days a week and the high school is set to do the same starting on May 3.

“I spoke with Principal Cari Perchase and some teachers and they said it was like late August or early September in April so essentially it feels like the start of school,” Superintendent Conti said. “Buses were late as typically happens. They are still working on getting bus routes down and getting students on the right buses and working out dismissal procedures.”

Cunha said one factor in slowing down the busing procedures at the end of the school day was social distancing. Spacing students out as they get on the buses has caused some delays.

“Kids are loading slower due to social distancing but we think we’ll tighten things up in a few days,” he said.

Cunha explained that now that there are more middle school students using the buses and because that school is the first set of routes, the delays there are impacting the elementary schools. He said that since the middle school started full days at the start of this week the elementary school buses have seen delays of five to 15 minutes but that as the routines are worked out they expect that to be remedied.

Another factor, however, is that the same will likely happen when the high school goes full-day five days a week starting next week.