VERNONIA, OR (KPTV) - After a long year and a half, Carole Gray's incoming junior was looking forward to reuniting with her friends at Vernonia High School.
"She was really excited about going into in-person school even though she was going to wear a mask all day long," Gray said.
Tuesday was supposed to be the first day of school for the Vernonia School District, but it's now dealing with an unexpected change of plans. One of Vernonia's bus drivers recently died from COVID-19 and a few more drivers have to quarantine.
"We're extremely sad at the loss of one of our school family. The driver was connected to several students and kids so that's our first concern," Superintendent Aaron Miller said.
Now, Miller said because of this shortage in bus drivers - they decided to postpone the first day of school. He said they didn't make this decision lightly.
"We're anxiously awaiting the return of kids for a full-time schedule this year and then three days before we're scheduled to start, we had a tragedy and aren't going to be able to get kids in here for a couple of weeks until our drivers are done with quarantine requirements, and we have enough transportation to get all of our students here," he said.
Gray said even though her daughter was disappointed to hear the news, they understand why the school district pushed back the return date. Now - Gray just wonders how this decision will impact the school's sports teams.
"I totally understand they had to quarantine. You know, that's a whole part of the climate we're in right now," Gray said. "I don't know if this will affect the sports kids going away to meets. Like, my daughter's at her cross country meet right now. I'm not sure if she's gonna be able to go to her meet tomorrow."
In a Facebook post announcing the delay, the school district said they'll share more information about athletics as soon as they can.
Miller said they plan to start school September 20, but, like most things over the last year and a half, that may be subject to change.