Suffolk Public Schools still struggling with bus driver shortages; district reinforces COVID safety measures for buses


SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Suffolk Public Schools is reinforcing safety when it comes to how students get back and forth to school.

Between bus driver vacancies and getting students to school in a timely manner, some children have been sitting three-to-a-seat to prevent them from having to wait for the bus.

When parents and school board members found out that students, mostly elementary students, were sitting close together on the bus, they called for a change in protocol.

In response, the school board approved an amendment to the district’s bus route ordinance during Thursday night’s meeting.

The amendment states that there is a chance students could get sick during high transmission of communicable diseases and school administrators will be responsible for making sure mitigation strategies are followed on buses to limit the chance of exposure to COVID-19. Those measures include making sure every student wears a mask while on the bus.

During Suffolk’s Nov. 4 meeting, it was revealed the district has 11 openings for bus drivers and an 84% attendance rate with the drivers they have on staff.

School officials said the bus driver shortage is a nationwide issue, but on Thursday they did not discuss how they’re trying to recruit bus drivers.

The school board approved the amended ordinance in a 6-1 vote.

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