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Guilford County Schools, GTA officials 'very pleased' with first day of students riding city buses

Guilford County Schools' executive director of emergency management said he believes they had about 72 students who rode city buses Monday morning.

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Some high school students at various Guilford County Schools in the city of High Point and the city of Greensboro had to make the switch to public transportation on Monday. 

The district announced last week the change is due to a bus driver shortage amid rising COVID-19 numbers. Many parents, students, teachers, and staff are making changes after COVID-19 got many drivers sick.

Both Guilford County Schools officials and Greensboro Transit Authority officials said everything went smoothly.

RELATED: Some GCS high schoolers won't ride school bus for next two weeks amid driver shortage

Many parents still have questions though, like why is this happening. 

According to GCS, the bus driver shortage worsened as COVID-19 cases are increasing. 

Kevin Elwood with GTA said he wants to remind parents that drivers realize they have precious cargo on board and safety should not be a concern.

"We recognize that there are perceptions out there about the safety of using public transportation, especially with children, but we emphasize the fact that we have professional drivers, we have cameras on the buses that record all the activities, and as far as COVID is concerned we have sanitizer on the bus, we require masks and face coverings, and social distancing when possible," Elwood said.

RELATED: GCS offering shuttle services to some high schools amid bus driver shortage

GTA said they don't have an exact number of how many students rode the bus Monday, but should have an update soon.

Mike Richey, the district's executive director of emergency management said he believes they had about 72 students who rode the city buses Monday morning.

"We are very pleased with how it went, we want to continue that," Richey said. "Now I will say some of our schools are on separate schedules this week because it's a testing week, so the real test will be next week when we have more students riding the bus."

"One thing that has worked out well is the fact that the Guilford County School students are using our buses during off-peak times, so we definitely have the capacity available for them to use the buses," Elwood said.