The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system has been thrown into chaos after more than 70 bus drivers quit in response to demands they receive experimental COVID injections to work, according to reports.
The city recently decreed that all employees and contractors working for public schools must be fully ‘vaccinated’ against COVID by October 15.
“About 2,100 students, including 990 in special education, were given no more than two days’ notice that their bus route no longer existed. District officials said they received word Friday from the private companies with which they contract for bus services that 73 drivers had resigned because they refused to abide by CPS’ vaccine mandate,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported on Monday.
The Chicago Tribune has placed the number of resignations at around 90.
Bus routes for over 2,100 students were subsequently canceled just two days before the first day of classes.
Officials are reportedly talking to ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft to see if alternative arrangements can be made, despite neither company requiring their drivers to be jabbed or allowing minors to ride alone.
“This is an all-hands-on-deck moment,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
Lightfoot has placed blame squarely on the private bus companies, saying the city is not responsible for the shortage of drivers.
“It was only Friday that the notification came from those third parties that they had a shortage of drivers. That is not CPS’ responsibility. We have a contract with those companies. We had an expectation that they were going to fulfill their contract,” she said.
However, Chicago was apparently already teetering on the brink of a bussing catastrophe due to pre-existing understaffing issues.
“CPS had adjusted to set up routes for the approximately 14,500 students who use school buses, but the existing shortage meant the district was headed into the school year operating on thin ice if a situation arose like the resignations last week. The district now has 770 drivers — about 500 fewer than what’s needed,” officials told the Sun-Times.
CPS is reportedly offering immediate $1,000 payments followed by $500 per month to affected families.