A bus attendant with Durham School Services in Spokane has died after testing positive for COVID-19, the company confirmed Thursday.
Durham, which provides transportation for Spokane Public Schools, did not provide a name.
“Sadly, we are heartbroken today to learn that one of our team members who was quarantining passed away,” Durham spokesman Ed Flavin said in a statement from the company’s national headquarters in Illinois.
The statement continued: “Our bus attendant, whose name we will not share out of respect to their family, had reported to us a COVID positive test. Our thoughts and prayers go out to our team member’s family and friends in this very difficult time.”
A bus attendant is tasked with attending to riders to help ensure the driver focus on the road. Not every bus has an attendant.
In an email sent to families last week, the school district confirmed that 19 local Durham employees, including drivers and other workers, had tested positive for COVID-19.
As of last week, at least a dozen other employees who had been exposed to the virus were in quarantine.
In the email , the school district said it was “aware that there have been reports that Durham hasn’t been following all health and safety protocols,” but it is “working closely” with the company to ensure that all staff and students are safe when riding buses.
At the same time, Flavin said Durham was bringing more drivers from outside Spokane to service routes.
On Wednesday, the district stated in an email that “the cases recently reported among Durham employees originated outside of the workplace and had no known link to buses or the Durham facility.”
The district also offered condolences to the Durham employee’s family.
“Every individual who works with our students plays an important role in the work that we do as a district,” the district said. “We are in communication with Durham Services, and will continue to provide updates as information becomes available.”
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.