School buses shut down after positive COVID test

Sam Klomhaus – Enterprise Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Bus service for Livingston schools and St. Mary’s School has been suspended through at least Friday after a bus driver tested positive for COVID-19 and nine other members of the transportation department were found to be close contacts.

The bus driver who tested positive is in isolation, the Livingston School District announced Tuesday, and the nine close contacts are quarantining. Five students who were close contacts are also quarantining.

Livingston School District Superintendent Don Viegut said Tuesday the situation resulted from all the bus drivers gathering in the same room after coming back from driving.

The entire district transportation department is being tested for COVID-19, Viegut said, and when service resumes will depend on the outcome of those tests.

“District leadership will meet Thursday afternoon following test results to conduct scenario planning and our next communications,” a district press release said.

No activities or events will be impacted, Viegut said, because there aren’t any high school sports or other events requiring a bus for the next two weeks, and there is one driver who was not a close contact available to handle middle school sports.

Park High Co-principal Lynne Scalia said the COVID-19 positive individual did not contract the virus at school.

Viegut said the community continues to come together to turn a negative into a positive.

According to the release, “In order to ensure that no students were stranded at bus stops, seven administrators followed quarantined bus drivers in separate vehicles to every bus stop on all seven routes” to pick the students up in those vehicles.

The state of Montana reported 10 more COVID-19 cases in Park County Tuesday, bringing the county to 477 total COVID-19 cases so far during the pandemic, 182 of which are active.

The state as a whole reported 1,500 new cases Tuesday, bringing Montana’s total to 49,398 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 19,750 of which are active.

There have been 543 COVID-19 deaths in Montana, one of which was a Park County resident and another of which was a North Dakota resident who was transferred to Billings, then transferred to Livingston HealthCare because there were no beds available at the Billings Clinic.