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Bus driver shortages are latest challenge hitting US schools

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  1. skybrian
    From the article: [...] [...] [...] Meanwhile: Massachusetts National Guard activated to aid communities in transporting children to school

    From the article:

    The driver shortfall isn’t new, but a labor shortage across many sectors and the pandemic’s lingering effects have made it worse, since about half the workforce was over 65 and more vulnerable to the virus, said Joanna McFarland, co-founder and CEO of school ride-service company HopSkipDrive, which tracks school bus issues.

    Her company conducted a survey in March that found nearly 80% of districts that responded were having trouble finding enough bus drivers.


    The delta variant also drove the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend universal mask wearing in schools, especially for children too young to be vaccinated. But in many areas, there’s a wave of fierce anti-mask protest.

    First Student lost some Helena drivers to mask requirements on buses, Redford said.

    “I know I’ve had a lot of drivers that don’t believe in that and don’t want to have to deal with that,” Redford said.


    In Florida, many of the largest school districts are using managers as drivers and implementing other stop-gap measures to get students to class as the school year begins against a statewide political fight over masks between Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who wants to forbid mask mandates, and districts convinced they’re needed to keep kids safe.


    Economic forces are also at play in the bus driver shortage. Driving a school bus requires a commercial driver’s license that can take weeks to obtain. And people who have them can often find higher-paying work that doesn’t require splitting the day for pickup and drop-off. Demand for commercial drivers is only increasing with the pandemic-related surge in online shopping, said McFarland with HopSkipDrive.

    But working with kids driving a bus can be a rewarding profession, and the hours work well for stay-at-home parents or retirees seeking to supplement their income, contractors say. There’s no requirement to work nights, weekends or holidays. Field trips and sporting events can add more hours for those who want them, said Redford with First Student.

    Meanwhile: Massachusetts National Guard activated to aid communities in transporting children to school

    3 votes