COVID-19 surge complicates existing bus driver shortage for Jordan School District

Jan 3, 2022, 8:03 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:34 pm

WEST JORDAN, Utah — Dozens of students in the Jordan School District were late their first day back from winter break due to a problem with their busing services.

Parents at 20 different schools in the district woke up to messages and calls Monday, telling them that their child’s bus would be a half hour to 45 minutes late to school.

It’s a combination of a problem the district has been dealing with for years, plus the post holidays surge in sickness.

“Often, I hear my students say, ‘I love my bus driver,'” Jordan School District spokesperson Sandy Reisgraf said.

It’s a thankless job — getting children to school safely and on time.

“We have people in transportation that are working double shifts to get our students to and from school right now,” Reisgraf said.

And there is a need for help more than ever in the Jordan School District.

Reisgraf said dozens of students arrived to school 30 to 45 minutes late Monday because of their bus driver shortage — which is now hitting a breaking point with the pandemic.

“They just took the bus away and said, ‘Your kids don’t qualify for the bus this year,'” Rachel Johnson said.

Johnson’s family felt the impact before the delays on Monday. Last year, the route her children were on disappeared. Luckily, her kids were doing at-home learning.

“My neighbors had to petition for a bus,” she said. “Kind of a frustrating all-around situation.”

Bus driver shortages are happening across the country. In September, Massachusetts trained their National Guard to learn how to drive in case they were needed to help get students to school.

Reisgraf said they don’t know how to solve the staffing shortage, adding that it’s the worst they’ve seen in years.

“You just never forget some of them,” she said. “They’re that influential in your life.”

Officials with the Jordan School District said they will always make sure they get a bus to get students to schools, but delays could become more common until they can hire more drivers.

The district pays their drivers $21 an hour and covers the costs for training to get the bus license.

If you are interested in applying, visit their website.

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COVID-19 surge complicates existing bus driver shortage for Jordan School District