NEW HAVEN, Conn. – New Haven city officials have extended the shut down of First Student, Inc. bus company after confirmation of eleven positive COVID-19 cases at the school.
“We will be working with First Student to review employee protocols and disinfecting protocols so that we can resume operations on November 16th,” said New Haven Public Schools Chief Operating Officer Michael Pinto.
There are now 11 coronavirus cases among bus drivers and other staff.
First Student is contracted for the New Haven Public School system as well as other parochial and private schools.
The news comes just as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the state. New Haven officials announced Thursday that the city is rolling back from Phase 3 COVID restriction business protocols to Phase 2, and delaying a transition to hybrid learning.
New Haven Health Director Maritza Bond added, “As a result, First Student, Inc. will cease all operations for the next two weeks. We anticipate there will be additional cases and will be sure to let the public know.”
New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker also gave a comment on the announcement saying, “Clearly we don’t take any of these decisions lightly. We realize that these decisions impact people’s lives in significant ways and so there was a lot of deliberation…The rapid increase in cases should be concerning to all residents. The City will continue to address violations in State and City COVID guidelines to ensure the safety of the community. We must all do our part – mask-wearing, social distancing, and not gathering in groups – even small ones – to reduce the number of cases.”
Director of Health for the City of New Haven Maritza Bond said, “Upon preliminary findings we have been able to identify that the source of the issue was due to a social gathering. A local party.”
Jay Brock, the spokesperson for First Student, reached out to News 8 to comment on the extension:
First Student is working with and supporting the efforts of the health department, city and school district. The employees who tested positive are in quarantine, and we will proactively test all other employees. We have told employees to self-monitor for symptoms and get tested again if they feel sick. We also have been in contact with all employees to reinforce appropriate safety, social distancing and cleanliness behaviors, both at our location and outside of the workplace.