CUPE calls on School Divisions to cancel school bus routes – COVID-19

WINNIPEG – CUPE is calling on School Divisions to cancel school bus routes, following the
Louis Riel School Division’s (LRSD) March 15th email to parents noting that school bus drivers
are expected to conduct medical assessments of students prior to letting them on the bus.
Additionally, according to the email, school bus drivers are required to permit students on the bus
who exhibit flu-like symptoms.

“CUPE is incredibly concerned that the School Division is expecting bus drivers to conduct
medical assessments of students,” said Rick Peschel, CUPE School Sector Coordinator.
“Considering the health authorities’ suggestion of social distancing, we’re not convinced that is
possible on a school bus.”

Bus drivers are not equipped to provide accurate medical assessments of students or parents
entering their vehicle.

Bus drivers do not have the appropriate health and safety tools to perform their duties in an
enclosed vehicle with students who may have COVID-19-like symptoms.

Drivers who identify students with flu-like symptoms do not have the appropriate tools or training
to ensure that the quarantined student follows social distancing procedures.

“Bus drivers should be focused on the road, not on enforcing a quarantine at the back of their
bus,” said Peschel. “For the safety of the students and staff, CUPE is calling for the cancellation
of school bus routes going forward, asking parents to assess their children who may have flu-like
symptoms by calling Health Links, and arranging alternate transportation.”

CUPE also echoes the Manitoba Teachers Society’s call for schools to be suspended as soon as

Should schools or bus routes cease operations entirely, it is CUPE’s position that School
Divisions should provide full wage continuance for affected members, including bus drivers,
educational assistants, secretaries, custodians and other staff.

The LRSD memo to parents can be found here:

CUPE represents over 5,000 school division employees across Manitoba.