Message to members regarding COVID-19
This is a very challenging time, both as an industry and as individuals, as we respond to the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Take care of yourself, take care of your family, and please follow all of the recommendations set forth by the experts regarding ways you can stay healthy.
After Governor Walz announced on Sunday that schools in Minnesota would be shut down on March 18 through March 27 to prepare for on-line education, there were many questions that needed to be answered in regard to student transportation. Most of those questions have been or are being answered as more direction comes from the Capital and the Department of Education.
One of the prominent questions that many of us have been working through is the compensation of drivers, paras and other transportation staff, and if contracted services are to be considered as well as district staff.
MSBOA requested and received a clarification from the Department of Education. “There is an expectation that we maintain our collaboration and contracts with our bus transportation providers.”
I’ve included the full response from Heather Mueller, Deputy Commissioner of MDE below:
Thank you for your email and for sharing the concerns of our bus driver colleagues. We will reiterate with our Superintendents and Charter School leaders that there is an expectation that we maintain our collaboration and contracts with our bus transportation providers. These professionals are instrumental in supporting the efforts of distance learning specifically for transporting the students of our healthcare and emergency care workers and food to our students throughout the community.
Thank you for your willingness to partner with and support our school districts and charters in this unprecedented time.
Heather Mueller, Ed.D.
O: 651-582-8750 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Minnesota Department of Education
1500 Highway 36 West, Roseville, MN 55113
I’m aware that there are a number of school districts that are working with their contractors on the details of compensation during the shutdown. Each contract is different, and there are different interpretations of the department’s guidance. The most important factor is that we need to keep our operations whole, whether we operate our own transportation or contract our needs. Minnesota already suffers from a severe shortage of school bus drivers, mechanics and other staff. When schools resume (and we all hope they will) we need to have our workforce in place and ready to go. Please keep this in mind as your making your agreements.
Stay healthy everyone!
John Thomas, President
Minnesota Association for Pupil Transportation
Transportation Manager – Eastern Carver County Schools