PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - The COVID-19 bus driver shortage is leaving school districts scrambling. As a result of the problem – families in our areas are now facing the repercussions and trying to figure out how to get their students to and from school safely.
Parents are frustrated with the bumpy start of this school year. They are experiencing bus delays, no show buses, and students even being dropping off at the wrong locations. Revia Lopez is very concerned.
"We understand that we’re still in a pandemic and they’re short-staffed. However, they have to make sure they are leaving other people's kids care and safety with the right person," said Revia Lopez.
That’s the aunt of an eigth grader at Walker Mill Middle School in Capitol Heights, Maryland. She says just last night it took her niece two hours to get home and her parents were shaken up about it.
Prince George’s County Public Schools tells FOX 5 their bus driver had the wrong routes which resulted in students being driven all around DC. Eventually, the bus was pulled over by a U.S. Park police after students felt unsafe when the bus driver allegedly told them to "sit back and enjoy the ride" even though they knew they weren’t heading in the right direction.
"They actually got to the point where my niece said she asked someone for a piece of paper and wrote help me and then I guess after that all the kids started writing signs and they started putting signs up on the glass window," said Lopez. "Look at this line. This is the line to pick up your kids this afternoon. Ain’t nobody catching the bus."
That is what a Prince George’s County mother said while she was taking a video of a long line of cars. As a result of the bus issues, parents are having to pick up their kids. We’re told police even had to go out to direct traffic after neighbors complained they couldn’t even get out of their driveway.
A webpage shows Anne Arundel county parents the status of the school buses indicated multiple delays today. Some more than an hour and on top of that, 16 school bus routes had no service today. This is causing a huge inconvenience for parents.
Montgomery County parents have also reached out to Fox 5 concerned. One parent we spoke with this morning says his six-year-old son and niece were both dropped off at the wrong stops. He couldn’t find his students and eventually saw them walking alone 10 minutes away from their home on the side of the road.
All school districts Fox 5 contacted about these issues said the same thing – there’s a bus driver shortage and they’re having a hard time recruiting. If you want to be a bus driver – they desperately need you.