CHELSEA, Massachusetts—A shortage of school bus drivers is causing problems across the country.
He said that it was frustrating and hard because our schools are clean and have security measures in place. All of our students have been vaccinated and are ready to go. However, the transportation issues mean that our children are often late. Almi Abeyta was the Superintendent of Chelsea School District.
She is well aware of the hardships that Chelsea, Massachusetts has faced. It was among the most severely affected by covid in 2020’s spring. She is aware of the impact it had on students.
“Our students haven’t been here in a whole year,” Abeyta says.
Abeyta stated that 40% of them chose to continue their distance learning and that this fall was their first experience in a classroom since they had returned in March 2021.
This is the new bump on their journey.
John McCarty, the operator of NRT transport and responsible for 125,000 children getting to school each day, said that “School bus drivers can’t grow in trees.”
He doesn’t have enough drivers, which is the only problem.
“You have to realize that 18 months without a salary is a long time, especially if you aren’t eligible for unemployment. McCarty stated that there are older people concerned about COVID-19.
To get children to and from school, the Massachusetts National Guard is in charge.
McCarty stated that “they do all sorts of things to help people such as us everywhere, from protecting our freedoms to controlling our children.”
Abeyta confirmed that 15 National Guard soldiers drove the buses mostly door-to–door.
Chelsea will be one of nine Massachusetts school districts to host National Guard drivers.
The Massachusetts National Guard declined to interview for this story.
Governor Charlie Baker stated that guards had been trained in vehicle handling, and were subject to background checks. He also said that they had been thoroughly screened for safety and health issues.