Francis of Assisi School on Friday, April 23, in Concord, Calif. (Ray Saint Germain/Bay City News)

Bus services for roughly 1,400 Berkeley elementary school students has been suspended this week because of three COVID-19 exposures affecting the district’s transportation department.

School officials were notified of the workplace exposures on Thursday, Friday and over the weekend, said Berkeley Unified School District spokesperson Trish McDermott.

The exposures affected 11 drivers, which is more than half of the district’s force, as well as the dispatcher and scheduler, McDermott said Monday.

“These three incidents are not related, in that they do not involve transmission at BUSD,” McDermott said.

On Friday afternoon, Superintendent Brent Stephens alerted parents that buses won’t operate from Monday through Thursday while the exposed staff members remain in quarantine.

He also said students who are late to school due to the disruption will be excused.

“I appreciate your understanding that this quarantine is a necessary precaution against additional exposure to COVID, and is part of the state guidance about public health decisions,” Stephens said in a letter sent to parents and posted on the district website.

Bus service for students with Individual Education Plans will continue normally this week.
Despite the disruption, “no significant attendance changes were reported” Monday, McDermott said.