STAMFORD, CT – With a Monday, September 27 deadline looming on a state COVID-19 vaccine mandate, nearly 300 Connecticut school bus drivers are ready to walk off the job at the end of the day on Friday, many of them citing either religious or medical-related reasons for refusing to take the jab.
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont had previously issued a executive order-backed COVID-19 vaccination mandate –due to kick in on Monday – for some segments of the state’s workforce, including all public school district employees.
If a school district disobeys the vaccine mandate, State COO and Commissioner from the State Department of Administrative Services Josh Geballe pointed out that non-compliance with the Governor Lamont’s executive order means that School districts could potentially run the risk of loosing their state funding.
“The driver shortage is going to be massive,” confirmed Connecticut School Transportation Association (CSTA) spokesperson John Hipsher on the impending walkout. “Moms and dads should have patience for sure on Monday.”
CSTA – which represents almost 60 companies – also sent a letter to the Connecticut state Department of Education, informing them that by Monday “The school bus driver shortage will become 10 times worse on that day, and it will be a crisis driven by government.”
A similar school bus driver walkout over vaccine mandates in neighboring Massachusetts has resulted in the National Guard being activated in order to provide transportation for children to and from school while officials scramble to find replacement carriers to take over.
The CSTA is requesting that Governor Lamont either allow bus drivers to be exempt from having to be vaccinated, or to give them a 60-day grace period and state funding to set up proper COVID-19 testing.
“I can tell you we’re in active discussions with the bus drivers,” Lamont responded. “I can tell you we’ve done everything to accelerate getting additional bus drivers in place.”