Peel Region may experience temporary school bus route cancellations as higher rates of driver absenteeism are possible due to the Omicron variant.

Student Transportation of Peel Region (STOPR) said select bus routes may have to be cancelled on a temporary basis if several drivers are at home isolating because of either contracting or being exposed to COVID-19.

The notice comes as students are returning back to in-person learning on Monday after pivoting to virtual learning for two weeks following the winter break.

“The cancellation of a bus route is a last resort for STOPR. Therefore, it is important that parents, students, and school staff are monitoring the STOPR website daily and checking the “Delayed Buses” page to monitor the status of their buses,” STOPR wrote in a press release on Friday.

STOPR says cancelled bus routes will be out of service for approximately five to 10 days.

Parents are encouraged to create an account on STOPR’s website to receive transportation alerts for their children’s bus routes.

STOPR will also post updates on its twitter page and website.

Earlier this week, Brampton’s public transit service cancelled eight more bus routes amid staffing shortages and reduced ridership due to the pandemic.

A total of 20 routes are out of commission in Brampton, as service on 12 other routes was cancelled at the outset of the pandemic.

Brampton Transit’s General Manager Alex Milojevic told CP24 that the absenteeism rate among drivers has risen from around six to eight per cent pre-pandemic to 20 to 25 per cent in recent weeks, making the service changes mostly unavoidable.