Without school buses, many families are juggling schedules in order to get their children to school, and for one family with special needs in Staten Island, the new situation is going to take more gas and less sleep. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.
Bright and early Thursday, Steven Sereno's children were waiting to go to school. But due to the school bus drivers' strike, the bus would not show up at their home in the New Dorp Beach section of Staten Island.
"Pretty hectic, pretty hectic. Rough schedule for my wife," Sereno said.
Sereno could not talk for long because he had to head to work in Manhattan at 6:50 a.m. So 9-year-old Steven, 11-year-old Angelo and 20-year-old Michael, who is a special needs student, waited for their mother to come home from an overnight nursing shift to drive them to school.
"Now she's got to come home, drive them, drive them to school, come home, take a nap and get up earlier to go pick them up," Steven Sereno said.
Carrie Sereno arrived home at 7:33 a.m., gathered her children and had them in the car three minutes later. She drove a short distance to drop Michael off at the Hungerford School Inclusion Program for students with autism.
She made a stop for gas, and then it was off to the Petrides Educational Complex a few miles away to drop off her fourth-grader and fifth-grader. She got them there at 8:05 a.m., just a few minutes late.
"I pretty surprised that the traffic was as minimal as it was. Usually, it's very backed up," Carrie Sereno said. "I guess it depends on the time you leave. But it was pretty hectic."
Usually, Carrie Sereno only gets about five hours of sleep a day, so this new schedule will cut her slumber time down even more.
"I hope it gets settled as soon as possible. I don't know how much longer my body is going to take about two to three hours of sleep a day," Carrie Sereno said.
The Serenos were just one of the families in New Dorp Beach impacted by Hurricane Sandy, so they said the last thing they needed was another disruption in their lives.
"Yeah, it was like putting salt in an open wound. I mean, it hasn't healed yet and now adding this on top of it," Carrie Sereno said.
Steven Sereno said he doesn't feel bitter about the situation and doesn't blame the bus drivers, saying they are looking out for their families. But he is hoping for a quick resolution, so students who normally take the school bus and their families do not have to suffer for too long.