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Two bus routes canceled as students return to school

The Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1 canceled two bus routes. (The Journal file)
Students out of school from Oct. 27 through Nov. 5 because of a surge in COVID-19 and reduced workforce

Two Montezuma-Cortez School District School District RE-1 bus routes have been canceled for a week beginning Monday – the day students were slated to return to school after all but district charter schools were closed, a Friday press release said.

The two impacted bus routes are known as the “No. 45 Penguin Bus” and “No.46 Camel Bus.”

Those bus routes transport students from Montezuma-Cortez Middle and High Schools, Mesa Elementary School, Manaugh Elementary School and Southwest Open School, the release said.

The Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1 Transportation Department is facing “extreme staff shortages,” the release said.

The impact of staff shortages has rippled across the district. For example, the district reported 62 teachers absent from the classroom on Oct. 5. More than 20 were without substitutes.

Substitutes were unavailable to cover the transportation staff shortages. If additional drivers are sourced, the district will notify families immediately, the release said.

The school closures were started Oct. 27 because of a climb in COVID-19 cases and resulting impact on workforce, a letter from Superintendent Risha VanderWey stated.

In an Oct. 26 announcement, the district reported more than 700 students had been quarantined and five hospitalized because of the coronavirus. Two among staff were also hospitalized at that time.

In total, the RE-1 district reported 51 positive cases of COVID-19 among staff and students as of Oct. 26.

Dec 3, 2021
Montezuma-Cortez schools closed down; charter schools remain open