Schools Face Bus Driver Shortages In Post-Pandemic World

Reports say that after the COVID-19 outbreak, schools nationwide are still fighting to get students back into the classroom as they strive to make up for their lost learning.

According to a study issued by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, students who missed three or more days of school had worse math results than their classmates who did not skip school.

However, the NYT reports that schools are having problems hiring bus drivers to deliver students to class, causing some districts to delay daily start times and others to postpone classes for a week.

In Louisville, Kentucky, Jefferson County Public Schools educates roughly 100,000 kids annually but had to cancel school this week due to a lack of sufficient bus drivers, as the New York Times reported. There will be a delay in the start of school until at least Friday for elementary and middle school children and Monday for high students.

A district official said that out of an average of 900 drivers, the district only had 600 this year. The representative said their daily capacity is 65,000 student rides.

Florida’s Hillsborough County Public Schools is likewise having trouble making ends meet, according to Tanya Arja, the district’s head of communications.

It’s estimated that they need 203 new bus drivers. Arja said they are still looking for new drivers, and many of their existing ones are putting in extra hours.

Due to severe shortages, Albemarle County Public Schools in Charlottesville, Virginia, had to tell 1,000 families that their kids would not have a bus route. Albemarle County Public Schools’ public relations and strategic communications administrator, Phil Giaramita, said that usually 6,000 pupils would need to be transported daily, but this year they were overflowing with 10,000.

Districts in Chicago and Oklahoma have boosted salaries to attract more applicants, but they lack the resources.
Over 25% of U.S. pupils missed over 10% of class time during the 2021-2022 school year, according to research published in August by Stanford University. This is up from 15% at the start of the epidemic.

Although all states have not yet issued official school absence data for the 2022-2023 school year, K-12 students’ civics exam results decreased for the first time this past year, joining those of math and reading to plummet to levels not seen since the 1990s.