It was an early morning for Bloomfield school officials.
In pre-sunrise calls, school heads learned high school and middle school students would be left waiting at curbsides across town due to bus drivers and aides calling out sick.
Interim School Superintendent Nicholas Dotoli said 14 drivers and 12 aides called out of work on Monday.
“There were unprecedented numbers of people calling in sick,” Dotoli said.
Officials attributed the mass absence to disagreements about health insurance and salary for bus drivers and student aides.
Dotoli said that no formal strike had been called.
Speaking with Bloomfield Life, George Penn, a bus driver who has been speaking on behalf of drivers and aides, declined to say if this was an organized action. Bloomfield bus drivers and aide are not represented by unions.
In August, Penn told Bloomfield Life the district hasn't provided bus drivers and aides health care for three years.
Dotoli said the district alerted residents through Bloomfield’s reverse 911 system and sent out drivers who had already completed their routes back out on the road. Interim school business administrator James Verbist, who is licensed to drive school buses, also drove a route.
A note on the district’s site advised that arrangements should be made for alternate student transportation to the middle and high schools and said late arrival will be excused.
Dotoli said that a number of parents contacted his office with concern.
“There were a lot of unhappy people calling in today,” Dotoli said.