GCPS bus driver raises concerns over lack of communication

One bus driver with Gwinnett County Public Schools is raising concerns about the lack of communication when it comes to notifying drivers about students who are quarantining due to possible COVID-19 exposure.

"It makes me feel like I am not a part of the school system," one bus driver said.

The bus driver spoke with FOX 5 but wanted to remain anonymous. 

She, along with other bus drivers, have spent weeks shuttling students to and from schools, disinfecting the buses, and encouraging students to wear masks. However, she said there has been no communication from the district or schools about students who are in quarantine.

"The students, they have no problem telling me they've been in quarantine. It's good to be back, how are you doing? That's really how I find out. When students or siblings tell me they've been in quarantine," she said.

According to Gwinnett County Public Schools, it's following protocol. They sent FOX 5 this statement that outlines the protocol:

"If the student has tested positive for COVID or is a suspected case:

“If the student who tested positive had been at school, the school’s Health Response Team (HRT) identifies and contacts anyone who has been in close contact. The CDC considers a close contact to be anyone who has been within 6 feet of the infected person for 15 minutes with or without a mask or face covering. Families of the close contacts, as well as staff members identified as close contacts, will be provided with information/recommendations from the health department, including when students and staff members may return to school and work. Notification also will be sent to families of students in the class or who ride the same bus with the ill person— even if their child doesn’t have to quarantine— alerting them to the case.

“If the student is an identified close contact:

“Individuals identified as close contacts do not have COVID, however, they are required based on our protocols to stay home and self-isolate for 14 days. As they are not ill, there is no notification required. If a close contact who is self-isolating develops symptoms, our process kicks in to identify any close contacts of that person."

The bus driver points out, however, some may be asymptomatic and not even know they have the virus and could pass it along to others.

"We may not be in contact with the kids for six hours a day but we are still in contact with them and we need to know that information. We are going home to our families as well. I have a mother in the household who is a breast cancer survivor and what if God forbid, she doesn't pull through because I brought something home?" the bus driver said.

She said there's no harm in over communicating to ensure the safety of all staff and students.

"We are essential workers as well and we should be treated as such. The easiest way to do that is just by communicating with us. I don't see what the problem is," she said.