HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — If you’ve noticed longer pickup and drop off lines surrounding schools, you’re not alone. Schools in districts across Hampton Roads are experiencing this for a couple of reasons.
Suffolk Schools Superintendent Dr. John B. Gordon III said increased enrollment in their district and COVID-19 concerns play a role.
“Parents are understandably very nervous to put their kids on the bus so most cases, we’re looking at 3 times and sometimes up to 10 times as many parent drivers as we’ve had in the past,” Gordon said.
Drone 10 captured video of the long line that forms at Elephant’s Fork Elementary School as their school day wraps up.
Gordon says multiple schools in the district are seeing the same.
“One of my elementary parents planned for 100 parent pickup and drop off and on day one there were 354,” he said.
Gordon said the situation is improving as the weeks go on and after they put mitigation measures in place.
“We have additional staff out there and we’re compensating them for their time,” he said. “We’re also trying to get additional officers.”
10 On Your Side reached out to other districts in Hampton Roads and learned Portsmouth is also seeing an increase in volume around pickup and drop off time.
“We are seeing more students being brought to school as opposed to using the bus; however, we have not had any reports of traffic spilling into the streets,” said Portsmouth Public School’s spokesperson Lauren Nolasco. “Administration recommends families follow the directions from their schools regarding pickup and drop off, adhere to the traffic patterns for pickup and drop off times and communicate openly with their school principal if they are going to make any changes to their family’s daily transportation routines.”
Hampton Public Schools reported seeing the same.
“This is due to traffic patterns potentially needing adjusting (e.g., drop off & pick up locations, buses exiting schools),” said spokesperson Kellie Goral. “Additionally, this year, it appears that more families are driving their children to school. We do not have data around this, but most likely this increase can be attributed to the pandemic.”
In Virginia Beach a spokesperson said they’ve received reports of traffic spilling onto local streets.
On Sept. 29, a VBPD officer tweeted it is working on a solution for traffic congestion due to student pickup in the afternoons in the Foxfire community, near Princess Anne Elementary and Middle schools.
Overall, districts are reminding parents to obey pickup and drop off rules for each school and to pack their patience.