School bus shortage felt in the Chattahoochee Valley
COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - COVID is now affecting local school bus schedules. A nationwide school bus driver shortage is causing stress to families in our area.
It comes down to two factors: the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and the need for more bus drivers.
One Muscogee County School District mother told us she just wants some answers from the school district.
“10 to 15 minutes late, maybe 20 minutes late... that’s ok. But an hour late? That’s unacceptable,” Devonnia Terry, a frustrated parent who is seeking answers from the Muscogee County School District, said.
For the past several mornings, she explained her children have been standing in the cold weather for up to an hour - missing the school bus and late for school.
“I called. No one could give me any answers about when the bus could come,” Terry said. “Mind you, my children are third, fourth grade and kindergarten. So of course you know it’s dark at that time. We went back home to try to contact them to find out when the bus was going to come... Nobody knew anything.”
Terry told us that the bus is supposed to arrive at 6:30 a.m. Her recent car troubles aren’t helping, and now her children are now having to use public school transportation. She explained when she called for answers, she was asked this: “‘Do I have a car to sit in while I wait for the bus?’ If I had a car to sit in then I most likely wouldn’t be using public transportation.”
Just Monday, over in Harris County, the School District released a statement urging parents who rely on a school bus to have a back up plan in place for the time being.
Justin Finney, the Assistant Superintendent of Business Services and Technology for Harris County explains routes haven’t had to be altered yet, but they want to be prepared.
“Right now, out of our 80 drivers, we do have 15 drivers off their routes,” Finney explained. “Five vacancies, some COVID numbers and other various reasons. If we do have to alter a bus route, we determine the route we have to alter then we call parents as quick as we can.”
In Harris County they are also in desperate need of bus drivers. It takes up to eight weeks after being hired for drivers to start a route.
Copyright 2022 WTVM. All rights reserved.