Storyteller: Alexander Younce
Leah, or more commonly referred to as “Lee” Torrey works as a bus aide for the Bangor township school system. Since the beginning of the pandemic there has been the debate about whether or not to keep kids in school, something Lee experienced first hand.
She told me “When they decided to start sending kids to school again we were constantly fighting with parents and students alike: to be sure they were wearing their mask, that they weren’t getting on the bus sick, that they stayed in their assigned seat.” She also said that many parents tried to send their kids to school without a mask, something the school only allowed if the child had the properly filled out paperwork stating that they had a medical condition that affected their ability to do so.
But even before kids were back in school she was working, though it was quite different to what she was used to. “Being a part of the school district, it had changed how I worked considerably. In order to keep bus drivers and aides working, they started having us deliver lunches to students in the Bangor school district. It was rough the first few weeks since we were delivering lunches to 1,400+ kids daily.” She also said that the organization in the beginning wasn’t the most thought through, and it felt like her and all her coworkers were scrambling for some sort of answer that none of them knew how to find.
The political climate of the word also had a huge affect on the way the busses functioned. On more than one occasion there were instances where parents were against masking and claimed it against their rights. However this ideology is what led to having more than one COVID-19 positive child on the busses and eventually lead to the return to online learning for all students. By that time though, it was too late, one of Lee’s coworkers had contracted the virus, and it spread to Lee’s family, more specifically her brother, a disabled man who uses the bus that Lee’s coworker ran. Lee’s father is high risk due to a lung disease and all of the people in the house had to be extremely careful not to spread anything and keep everyone safe.