And what are school officials doing to help students who miss some of their classroom instruction?
QUESTION: How many Alamance-Burlington school buses are running late every day? What kind of academic help is provided to students who miss classes when their buses arrive at school late?
ANSWER: “On average 40 buses may be running double and triple loads on a daily basis, so some students are arriving later than expected,” ABSS transportation director Corey Davis recently confirmed for The Alamance News.
ABSS currently has a shortage of about 40 school bus drivers, Davis confirmed for the newspaper. To mitigate the shortage of drivers, many ABSS employees who hold commercial drivers’ licenses have been dragooned into driving buses, he said.
ABSS operates 149 school buses, including 136 conventional yellow school buses and 13 smaller buses that transport students in the Exceptional Children’s program to and from school, Davis said.
Story continues below special subscription offer.
For breaking news in between Thursday print editions, subscribe to AlamanceNews.com: MORE local news, MORE comprehensive coverage than any other source.
Use this special to get the rest of November and December 2021 FREE when you subscribe for one- or two-year subscription ($50 or $79, respectively).
Note: for in-county subscribers, your subscription also includes a print edition by mail each week.
Meanwhile, several teacher assistants and other ABSS employees – whose positions don’t normally require them to drive buses – are now driving two and three bus routes before and after school, they told school board members during public comments at their meeting on October 25.
By comparison, Davis recalled that ABSS had a shortage of 20 to 25 school bus drivers in the spring of 2020, before Gov. Roy Cooper ordered all public schools to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Schools in the Burlington and Graham attendance zones “have the most critical need for drivers at this time,” the transportation director told the newspaper. “Frequently, these drivers are running two loads [of students] for elementary schools, and then the same drivers are turning around to run two loads for the middle and high school routes,” said Davis.
Between 50 and 60 school bus drivers are running double and triple routes any given day, he estimated.
Students get extra help with instruction as needed
For their part, officials in the student learning division assured the newspaper that ABSS teachers assist students who need additional academic support as needed.
“All schools have time built in their daily schedule for intervention, remediation, and enrichment for students who may need additional assistance with their work [or] time to make up any missed work,” according to the school system’s student learning division.
Students aren’t marked tardy for arriving late to school when their buses are running behind.
“Schools and teachers are well aware of transportation issues,” officials in the student learning division told the newspaper. “Teachers are notified which bus or buses are arriving after the school day begins so that they know how to record attendance appropriately and not count bus riders tardy or absent.”
See related story on other school districts also facing bus driver shortages: https://alamancenews.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=9027&action=edit