School Bus Driver Shortages Spark Crisis in The US

School Bus Driver Shortages Spark Crisis in The US

(ReliableNews.org) – The nation’s road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is, understandably, filled with bumps. With the Delta variant finally winding down, the outlook for winter looks better than it did a few weeks ago. However, a shortage of school bus drivers has sparked a crisis in New Jersey and other East Coast states.

The pandemic played a considerable role in the shortage. School bus drivers sought employment elsewhere after facing months of layoffs. Many hired on with companies like Amazon that thrived during the pandemic. Unfortunately, many school districts can’t compete with the online retailer’s pay scales, so some drivers opted not to return when schools reopened.

States resorted to unusual strategies to combat the driver shortage. For example, Massachusetts deployed National Guard members to temporarily take over the duty of ferrying students back and forth to school.

Some New Jersey school districts resorted to paying parents to shuffle kids to school. In Camden, New Jersey, school officials told parents to use the local transit system to get their kids to class.

The shortage of drivers is one more challenge school districts have to manage attempting to reopen after months of at-home learning. They also face mounting controversy surrounding mask mandates as well as the lasting effects of Hurricane Ida.

Hopefully, things can return to normal soon. America’s schoolchildren have suffered the loss of in-school learning and social interaction with others for far too long. 

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