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Bangor Schools stay remote for the week of Jan. 25

Due to the increasing number of students being identified as close contacts, all Bangor Schools will move to remote learning for the remainder of the week.

Update (Monday, Jan. 25)

In an update posted to the Bangor School Department's website on Monday, Interim Superintendent Kathy Harris-Smedberg said all schools in the district will remain remote for the week of Jan. 25. She says the district hopes to return to in person learning on Monday, Feb. 1.

Harris-Smedberg wrote the following:

Due to continued confirmed cases among bus drivers and monitors, as well as confirmed cases at Bangor High School, Fairmount School, Fruit Street School, and Mary Snow School, all Bangor Schools will remain in remote learning from today, January 25, through Friday, January 29. We hope to return to in person learning on Monday, February 1. Wednesday, January 27 will remain a half day of student instruction. At this time, all close contacts have been contacted. I will keep you updated should information change.

I would like to genuinely thank all the parents/guardians who were willing to help with transportation, as well as those who provided me with input and perspective. This was a difficult decision, but it is my hope that this remote time will minimize the spread of the virus.

Everyone should monitor yourself and your child for signs and symptoms. Call a health care provider if symptoms start. It is important that you call a healthcare facility before you show up in person. Stay home if you are sick.

Signs and symptoms include:

• fever or chills

• cough

• shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

• fatigue

• muscle or body aches

• headache

• new loss of taste or smell

• sore throat

• congestion or runny nose

• nausea or vomiting

• diarrhea

If you have any questions, please contact a representative at your child’s school.

Please stay safe and be well.

In community,

Kathy Harris-Smedberg, Ph.D.

Interim Superintendent Bangor School Department

Original Story (Wednesday, Jan. 20)

Bangor School Department announced Wednesday afternoon that all Bangor Schools will be in remote learning for the remainder of the week.  

The school department announced on its website that due to the increasing number of students being identified as close contacts, all Bangor Schools will move to remote learning for the remainder of the week. Students will return to in-person learning Monday, January 25. 

A school bus driver shortage interrupted in-person schooling on Tuesday in Bangor. Then at around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, parents of kids at six previously unaffected schools were told that bus transportation would not be available Wednesday. However, the district said in-person learning would still occur, just without any buses. 

Interim Superintendent Kathy Harris-Smedberg said she found out about the bus issue around 7 a.m. Wednesday and alerted Bangor school families as quickly as possible.

The following message was posted to the Bangor School Department website Wednesday morning:

We apologize for the tardiness of this message, but we have just recently found out that bus transportation is not available for Abraham Lincoln School, Bangor Regional Program, Downeast School, Fourteenth Street School, Fruit Street School, and William S. Cohen School. In person learning will occur at those schools, there will just be no buses running.

We are working to find alternative plans which allow all students to be in school, while keeping all of our students, staff, and bus drivers safe.

Please reach out to your child’s school if you have further questions.

Please be safe and be well. Thank you.

The reason for the bus shortage is due to multiple COVID-19 cases within Cyr Bus Line, the bus company the district uses. It is unclear how many drivers tested positive for the coronavirus but staff and students were placed into quarantine as a result.

“This is a very contagious virus and sometimes when you have really good plans, things can go array," Harris-Smedberg said. 

Mike Cyr, the Vice President of the bus line, released a statement to NEWS CENTER Maine that reads in part:

Unfortunately, the recent increase in positive cases and people needing to quarantine has had an effect on our limited supply of bus drivers. We are doing everything that we can to deal with this unprecedented situation, get drivers back on the road and kids safely to school.

The statement beings by stating the company was already dealing with a driver shortage before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On Tuesday, the district said due to a bus driver shortage and high numbers of COVID-19 cases in several schools in the district, students at the following schools would be remote until Mon, Jan. 25:

  • Bangor High School
  • James F. Doughty School
  • Mary Snow School
  • Fairmount School
  • Vine Street School

The district said all other schools would remain in-person and that buses would run for these schools. The district did say parents and guardians are encouraged to drive their kids, but did not prepare parents for no bus transportation at all.

RELATED: Some Bangor schools finishing the week online due to COVID-19 cases, shortage of bus drivers