ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – With school starting for most Central Florida students on Tuesday, there are still bus driver positions unfilled. So much so in Orange County, district officials are asking parents to forego the busing system if they can provide their own transportation.
On the eve of the first day of school, Orange County Public Schools told News 6 that it still has 100 open bus driver positions. This shortage has Superintendent Barbara Jenkins asking for parents to fill in some of the transportation gaps.
“We ask for additional patience as we get our bus stops and run times together,” Jenkins said. “I would ask again as we did last year if you are able to transport your own child, even though they require or qualify for busing, we ask for parents to help us out. That will help us spread students out on the buses.”
Osceola County School said it is still looking to fill 35 bus driver positions. The district is hosting a job fair on Tuesday and school starts Thursday.
Lake County said it is looking to fill 27 positions, Marion County replied it is searching for 25 and Seminole County has 15 openings.
Both Sumter and Flagler counties said all their bus driver positions are filled.
Porsha Grayson has a son entering pre-K in Seminole County. She said there have been a lot of last-minute changes when it comes to school planning and COVID-19.
“One of my good girlfriends stated that, ‘Hey this route got canceled, have you heard anything?’ So, I will say Seminole County has been very great with updating on their app and everything and also on the FB page,” Grayson said. “Plan ahead and be patient. That’s all we can do is just plan ahead and be patient and hope for the best school year for the kids.”
Districts also said school administrators have prepared for what is expected to be a higher number of vehicles dropping off children in school drop-off lines.
In Orange County, any parents entering a school will be required to wear a facial covering for at least the next 30 days.