Positive COVID tests, exposures force 36 Durham employees into quarantine

School Bus with Durham School Services

SPOKANE, Wash. — Thirty six Spokane-based Durham employees are quarantined for having contracted COVID-19 or being exposed to the virus.

Durham School Services confirmed 10 bus drivers have tested positive, while another nine have been exposed. The other impacted are employees of Durham, but not bus drivers. There are 180 Durham employees who work directly with SPS and all affected employees will be home until they are cleared to return to work.

An investigation by Durham found that those employees reported contracting and being exposed to the virus outside of the workplace.

“Durham School Services has informed the district of the positive COVID-19 cases among their Spokane staff members, and reported that these cases originated outside of the workplace. At this time, there are no indications that transmission occurred on school buses. SPS is continuing to work with the Spokane Regional Health District on contact tracing within our district and will provide updates to SPS families as soon as they become available,” SPS said in a statement.

With so many drivers out, routes are being affected. Substitute drivers are assisting with those routes and Durham is working with SPS to ensure they minimize delays.

Edward Flavin, Director of Communications for Durham, said the company has a stringent set of COVID guidelines and protocols that all employees must follow. Any employee who contracts COVID-19 cannot return to work until they satisfy the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended quarantine period, and criteria for returning to the workplace.

Employees are also screened daily for symptoms and they are not allowed to work if they show signs or a fever. They are also required to wear facemasks, follow a strict work area and vehicle disinfecting regime.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect the accurate number of bus drivers on leave due to quarantine. Initial information provided by Durham was not accurate.