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Marion County school buses are running late due to COVID-19


Marion County public school buses are running late these days because of a driver shortage tied to COVID-19.

Quarantine and recovery times keep the absentee rate at about 20 percent.

The shortage means some drivers are having to double up and even triple up on their routes. And students throughout the district are getting to school tardy and arriving home late.

At a meeting this week, School Board member Kelly King discussed emails from parents complaining about the problem.

"And I understand it's so difficult right now with our bus drivers, you know, and covid and students," she said. But surely there's got to be a way for us to be creative and figure out a way to get our students to school on time."

The board agreed to tackle the issue next Thursday.

The transportation director says her top priority is delivering the kids "on time and safely." The pandemic and existing vacancies makes that difficult.

Hiring drivers is hard under current conditions. Plus, the new ones still need three to four weeks of training.

Joe Byrnes came to Central Florida Public Media from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.