Kingston Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul J. Padalino apologized in an email Monday morning for a later-than-usual announcement that the school district would be closed that day. While the 2-hour delay announced shortly after 5AM was not entirely surprising given the snowy road conditions, a subsequent closing announcement at approximately 7:48am was issued later than it typically is. As it turns out, the closing was not related to the weather, but rather the recent surge in flu cases which appeared to have taken too many bus drivers out of service to provide transportation to school Monday.
“Just before 8 AM this morning, I made the difficult decision to update our District’s operational status from a two-hour delay to closing schools for the day,” Padalino wrote. “This decision is typically made much earlier and I want to apologize for the late notice. I know how challenging emergency changes in the school schedule can be for families.”
“This morning, we were monitoring a situation related to the availability of bussing after learning of a high number of drivers being out sick at our bus companies,” he continued. “Our contractors and transportation department tried to address the situation through route and schedule changes but were unsuccessful in finding a timely solution. In the end, too many of our students would have been without transportation today for us to open schools.”
This is not the first time a lack of bus drivers has impacted the Kingston school district this year. A driver shortage announced 15 hours before the first day of school left some students stranded, looking for other transportation.