AUSTIN, Texas — COVID-19 could now affect how some Central Texas students get to school.
Lake Travis ISD sent a letter to parents and guardians last week letting them know that COVID-19 could impact school bus services.
District officials said LTISD has already been dealing with a significant bus driver shortage "for quite some time" and the issue is now being compounded by the current surge of COVID-19 cases.
LTISD Assistant Superintendent Brad Bailey said this was a one-two punch between an already existing driver shortage and COVID-19.
"We're just going to see if we can get any drivers we can who are interested to come work for us," Bailey said.
In the meantime, Bailey has taken to finding any district employees with a Commercial Driver's License - regardless of position - and enlisting them to drive school buses for students.
"I love that I do get to get out and drive every day," Sara Anderson, LTISD's Transportation Department's Administrative Assistant, said. "It's kind of hard because I still have another job in the office. But that's my challenge, is just it's a long day, but we get through it. We do it. We love it."
Anderson has had her CDL for 17 years. Ten years ago, she started her administrative assistant job with LTISD and filled in every so often for an absentee bus driver. Anderson now fills in every morning and afternoon.
The district said it hopes to give parents and guardians as much notice as possible to make alternate transportation plans, but it may not be made aware of staff illness until the morning of a particular route or routes. Parents will be notified of impacted routes via text and email through SMART tag as soon as LTISD is made aware.
"We sincerely appreciate your patience, understanding and support as we continue to do everything possible to safely and efficiently meet our demands for student ridership while addressing our driver shortage and illness," the district said.
Anyone with questions or concerns can contact Brad Bailey, assistant superintendent for operations, at email@example.com or 512-533-5977.
As some Central Texas school districts are facing driver shortages, KVUE also reached out to Greyhound bus services. We were provided the following statement:
"Greyhound has been impacted by the industry-wide driver shortage as a result of the pandemic. In 2021 we launched a search to hire hundreds of drivers and that initiative is still underway. With an extensive network that services over 2,400 destinations, Greyhound drivers have the unique ability to 'work from anywhere,' meaning they can also be based almost wherever they choose, including Austin.
"Currently Greyhound is looking for drivers with full CDLs. Those interested are encouraged to check out Greyhound’s careers portal for more information and an application."
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