September 27, 2021

Bus driver shortage 2021: Massachusetts taps National Guard to help school districts

BOSTON — As school districts throughout the U.S. are going through bus driver shortages, one state is tapping the National Guard to help.

Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 14, practically 100 members of the Massachusetts National Guard will start coaching classes to function school bus drivers and help communities impacted by school bus driver shortages.

In accordance to a press release launched by the workplace of public security and safety of Massachusetts Gov. Charles D. Baker, 90 Guard members will “prepare for service in Chelsea, Lawrence, Lowell and Lynn” and up to 250 personnel might be accessible for the project.

“These Guard personnel will be available to serve as drivers of school transport vans known as 7D vehicles to address staffing shortages in certain districts,” the assertion learn. “All activated Guard personnel will complete vehicle training to ensure the safety of children and families.”

The assertion additionally stated that the National Guard will adjust to all well being and security measures.

Different states experiencing school bus driver shortages embody Pennsylvania, Virginia, Missouri, Ohio and Texas. Whereas the explanations for the shortage are various, Curt Macysyn govt director for the National School Transportation Affiliation, which represents personal school bus contractors, instructed ABC Information in August that well being issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic have performed a task.

“During COVID, people chose their health over a position,” Macysyn stated. “With the delta variant, I think some folks who might have considered a return are probably gonna stay on the sidelines a bit longer.”

For now, Macsyn stated dad and mom are being compelled to discover different modes of transportation to get their children to school every morning, equivalent to having relations take them, carpooling, or having college students stroll or bike. On the identical time, faculties are having to consolidate or take away routes.

ABC Information’ Joshua Hoyos and Meredith Deliso contributed to this report.