CHARLOTTE, N.C. — This year, every local school district in both North Carolina and South Carolina is taking extra steps to keep their buses safe and clean, but there are some concerns when it comes to drivers.
Is there a school bus driver shortage?
Yes, there is a school bus driver shortage.
WHAT WE FOUND
According to a 2021 HopSkipDrive survey made up of directors of transportation, and Superintendents of school districts, nearly 78% said they are constrained by bus driver shortages and 81% reported that COVID-19 has exacerbated existing shortage issues.
"All indications are there is a bus driver shortage. We have seen this occur over the past several years, but certainly, with the onset of COVID-19 and the challenges of the pandemic, it certainly exacerbated the condition this year," said Macysyn.
Macysyn said because most bus drivers are retirees, COVID-19 took a toll on drivers wanting to work.
"During COVID, they didn't want to risk their health to drive a bus and be exposed to potentially covid some then decided to retire or temporarily step away from driving a bus," said Macysyn.
According to Macysyn, there was a decline even before COVID-19, however, the pandemic has made it more of a challenge for districts to retain drivers.
Many local school districts say they're making do with what they have, and enough, for now, to pick up students but are working to hire more.
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