NEW HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- DATTCO, Inc. suspended school bus service in New Hartford for two days.

The decision came on Monday after two employees tested positive for COVID-19 at the New Hartford bus garage.

DATTCO, Inc. said the employees quarantined immediately after learning of their results.

“Our company concerns itself first and foremost with the safety and health of our passengers and employees. We sought expertise from local health officials and conferred with our customer school districts to help with our decisions in this matter,” DATTCO, Inc. said in a statement.

The company offered testing to all employees at the location where the two positive cases were reported.

Bus service was suspended until Thursday and during that time, the facility and all buses will undergo a thorough sanitizing, DATTCO said.

In a letter to parents, Region 7 superintendent Judy Palmer said “According to health officials who carefully assessed this situation, no Northwestern student is considered a close contact of that driver and there was an ‘exceedingly low risk for students on that bus’.”

School remained open, but Palmer said any New Hartford resident who cannot provide transportation for their student the next two days can have their child participate in remote learning.

"It is a very rural area, so there aren't a lot of sidewalks. There's not a lot of walkers, etc. So I'd say there's quite a bit of people that utilize the bus service," said Cliff Gibson, COO of DATTCO. 

DATTCO Inc. plans to resume bus transportation on Thursday.

"The best thing we can do is err on the side of safety for the children, for the families, for our employees. You know this thing has tentacles that reach out in different directions," Gibson said. 

"Most kids need to ride the bus, so you've kind of forced your hand on that because you have to hope that masks and hand sanitizing is safe enough," said Tracy Webb. 

Webb lives in Winsted, a town over from New Hartford, and she said the recent DATTCO cases scare her but she isn't shocked. 

"I feel like it's a matter of time before something like this is going to hit home," Webb said. 

Region 7 has students from New Hartford, Barkhamsted, Colebrook, and Norfolk as part of their regional school district, but DATTCO only provides transportation for New Hartford students.

Copyright 2020 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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