(La Porte, IN) - A shortage of bus drivers in the La Porte Community School Corporation has worsened due to COVID-19.
Some bus routes might not be covered this week and next week as a result.
Superintendent Mark Francesconi said about half of the roughly 16 active full-time drivers in the corporation are out because of COVID-19 related reasons. As a result, there are not enough substitute drivers to cover the number of current vacancies.
Francesconi said working drivers are doing their best to run double routes. However, some students are showing up late for school in the morning or at home during the afternoon as a result.
He said some routes are expected to be canceled until there are enough drivers, but they are exploring options to avoid canceling routes.
Francesconi said staff members could get behind the wheel of transport vans, for example, to pick up students. He’s also asking parents to take their kids to school and carpool, if possible, to ease demand further, so none of the bus routes have to be canceled.
Any student without a way to school will switch to virtual learning.
“During this setback, we will continue to look for ways to avoid cancellations in the future and do everything possible to maintain in-person instruction for our students,” Francesconi said.
Francesconi says that any cancellations of routes will be communicated through email and text messaging as far in advance as possible. Parents who cannot find alternative transportation for their child can go to the school corporation transportation webpage and click a link for help.
Double routes have been regular throughout much of the school year because of the limited workforce from COVID-19 and general shortages in the labor market.
According to the school system, there have always been enough substitute drivers to fill vacancies until now because of the COVID-19 surge.
"We acknowledge the additional strain that these ongoing challenges present to everyone in our school community and appreciate your support and understanding as we work together to persevere," he said.