NEW YORK - “The Department of Education, the city of New York, the Mayor’s office has not approached the needs of our families,” said Amy Tsai.
Tsai is a mother of five public school kids, including a 14-year-old son who has special needs. As the clock ticks closer to the start of the school year, Tsai and other parents in her Bronx district are wondering how their kids will get to school. Tsai is also waiting for a re-evaluation for her son’s IEP, which is an Individualized Education Program that’s developed for every public school child with special needs.
“Having a child with special needs and not having the access to bus services for a child that attends a school across town, it’s very frustrating,” said Tsai.
As of now, no DOE bus plan has been released. That means drivers, bus attendants, parents, and students still don’t know what route they’ll be on nor what safety protocols will be in place.
"Are there requirements of temperature checks on buses? Will there be measures if a student is sick? where will you be able to isolate that child or those children to a specific area on the bus?” Tsai asked.
In a statement, the DOE told FOX 5 NY: “All transportation options will have the necessary health and safety protocols in place and students with IEPs will be prioritized for busing. We’re releasing guidance as quickly as we can in close partnership with health officials, and families will know more in advance of the start of school.”
With two weeks to go before school starts, Tsai says she is counting down the days.
“About two weeks before school starts, usually those routes are in place, dry runs are to be done so they can prepare before school actually starts,” said Tsai.
The DOE tells FOX 5 NY it will provide transportation to all students, but that it may not be possible to provide transportation through a conventional mode like a bus. The agency is exploring the possibility of giving out MetroCards.