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Bus Driver Shortage: Seattle Public Schools Suspends 142 Bus Routes

Three school buses driving towards camera

Photo: The Image Bank RF

Well, this isn't good!

As of today, Seattle Public Schools is suspending142 out of the district's 600 bus routes which will impact about 6,700 students. Why you ask? Because some drivers are not vaccinated. More details on this below:

Under Gov. Jay Inslee's vaccine mandate, all school district employees, including third-party contractors, are required to be vaccinated or request an exemption by Oct. 18 or risk losing their jobs.

First Student has already been experiencing driver shortages, like many bus and transportation services across the country. SPS said it anticipates a decrease in available drivers after the vaccine mandate deadline.

"It’s our hope that the staffing shortages faced by First Student will be resolved as quickly as possible so we can resume – and improve upon – all bus service," said SPS Assistant Superintendent of Operations Fred Podesta in a statement. "In the meantime, we are actively looking for alternative solutions to this challenge, such as the expanded provision of ORCA transit passes for middle school students, and other modes of transportation."

The impacted routes will be suspended indefinitely until more drivers are hired, according to the district. - KING 5

This is a mess! I remember as a kid I didn't always have money to take the bus to school, and frankly, my mother wasn't able to take me either do to her working. So taking the bus to school was the only option. I hope they find a way to still get these students to school on time. See below for details on who will still receive SPS bus transportation:

Who will continue to receive bus service?

  • Students receiving special education services whose IEPs specify transportation as a related service.
  • McKinney Vento (families experiencing homelessness) and foster students.
  • Students with a 504 plan that includes transportation services.
  • Schools that serve large numbers or high proportions of historically underserved students.
  • Schools at interim sites. - Seattle Public Schools

What should you do if your student cannot get to school without bus transportation?

  • We will be working with schools on a case-by-case basis to identify and address the needs of students who have no other way to get to school.
  • If this applies to your student, please contact your school. - Seattle Public Schools

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