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'Something has to give' | Guilford County Schools' parents share concerns about bus driver shortage

The bus driver staff shortage will continue to impact high schoolers for the next two weeks.

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Guilford County Schools modified its school schedule on Friday due to a bus driver staff shortage fueled by COVID-19 cases. 

The bus driver staff shortage will continue to impact high schoolers for the next two weeks. The school district announced Friday night, high schoolers in High Point and Greensboro will use public city buses for free to get to their schools. 

RELATED: Guilford County high schoolers in High Point, Greensboro to not have access to school buses for next two weeks

The district first announced a bus driver shortage on Thursday, which caused delays on Friday. The district planned for elementary schools to start on time, but let parents know they should be aware buses may arrive late to pick them up. 

RELATED: Guilford Co. middle, high schools start late Friday due to bus driver shortage

Middle schools started one hour late Friday. High schools and early colleges started classes 1.5 hours late Friday. Teachers were on-site, so car riders could still arrive at their normal times.

The issue created a domino effect impacting everyone in the district. For nearly two years, it's been a balancing act with the pandemic, on top of learning.

WFMY News 2 checked in with parents to find out how they've handled all the changes.

Some parents are more flexible than others, but either way, it still can be challenging keeping up with it all.

"Had I not been off today, my kids wouldn't have been in school today," GCS parent Monchell Baker said.

Baker is a mom of five and depends on the bus to take her kids to and from school. She said with the modified GCS schedule on Friday, it wasn't exactly in her plans.

"A wrench and a point because we're on a point system, so without bus transportation, I could risk losing my job," Baker said. "Today, I drove all my kids to school except for the 8-year-old, the elementary student, because school started on time. But the other four all were taken to school."

Baker said Friday was her day off, otherwise, her kids more than likely wouldn't have made it to school.

"One of my students is at Weaver they're doing exams, so I knew it was important for her to go, so if I had to work today, I would've had to take it off to take her to school," Baker said.

While she knows the district is doing the best it can, she said changes like this can be hard on parents.

"Something has to give, work is going to happen, school is going to happen, I'm just hoping my kids are able to go to school without experiencing an hour-long wait in 28-degree weather at the bus stop," Baker said.

RELATED: 'We need your help:' GCS has no plans to return to remote learning, urges vaccinations

"I know they're working diligently to try and find a fix, but it's so unpredictable with keeping kids in school," Baker said, "I understand it, I get it, but even then how, how can we keep them in school, how can we get them to school, how can we make sure they have the same level of education with lack of teachers. It's hard."

For Stephanie Skordas, her freshman daughter Lexie rides the bus. She said because of the pandemic her schedule is a little more flexible.

"There was enough time for us to make changes to our schedules to do that," Skordas said.

Skordas said she understands why some do feel frustrated though. Dealing with all the constant changes since the pandemic began hasn't been easy.

"I feel like we've been rolling with the punches for so long, it's kind of our default," Skordas said. "So, on the one hand, it's like OK, another change, fine, you know, we'll figure it out, but also at the same time people are feeling stretched thin with all the rolling with the punches we've been doing."

For any questions, call the GCS Transportation Call Center at 888-511-4427.

RELATED: New Guilford County Schools service hoping to help with high call volume

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