Berkeley parents lean on each other after school bus drivers are exposed to COVID

Monday was the first day with no school bus service at the Berkeley Unified School District's elementary schools, after almost all the drivers were exposed to COVID. 

With school closures and quarantines happening across the country, parents weren't shocked to hear about the bus routes stopping. 

"Nothing is shocking at this point. We are just rolling with the punches," said parent Jordan Braun.

The buses aren't expected to return until Friday. So for now, parents are coming together to try to make sure their kids have much of their normal routine. 

Along with bringing students to and from school, the buses also bring kids to after care. Parents created their own carpool schedules to make sure neighborhood kids could still attend the program. 

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"They have two different pick up times so we’re coordinating with other families that have similar early release or late release," said parent Kent Newman. "We’re all in it together, as parents and as educators." 

Braun, who is lucky enough to work from home, took some time off to pick up one of his daughters and one of Newman's daughters. Like many other parents, he strapped the two to a cargo bike to get them to after care at San Pablo Park.

"That’s our tag team family," said Braun. "We’re all just fortunate to be able to work from home and have relatively good flexibility."

He and Newman know that they're lucky to be able to work from home, and many other parents who aren't are affected by this closure even more. But many parents seem to understand that this was bound to happen with covid still spreading in the community. 

"Everyone has been trying to be responsible for the last two years and it’s just getting really hard on everybody, you know. Some people slip up and make mistakes," said parent Emil Lewis.