Mansfield students get unexpected day off for bus driver shortage

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MANSFIELD, Ohio (WJW) – Mansfield students got an unexpected day off Tuesday because there were not enough bus drivers to take students to class mainly because of COVID-19.

“We don’t want kids standing in the dark, standing there when it’s cold and there’s not a bus there to pick them up, while we wait to reroute a bus,” said Mansfield City School District Superintendent Stan Jefferson.

Jefferson said the district has a plan in place to reroute certain buses and still be able to operate Wednesday, depending on the number of healthy drivers they have available.

“I don’t think there’s a school district in Ohio that will be able to say at some form, either academically, athletically or in terms of their extracurricular programs that they have not felt the impact of what it has done,” the superintendent said.

“I did have a shortage of 21% of my drivers this morning, which if you would take that into consideration, out of that 21% of the drivers, 33% of those were COVID-related,” said Bill Andexler, transportation coordinator for Akron Public Schools.

Akron Public Schools remained open Tuesday, but getting more than 6,000 students back and forth to class was a challenge. 

The district’s transportation coordinator told FOX 8 he had to pull qualified staff from his office and double up on routes to get it all done due to driver shortages.

“The best words I can sum it up with is that everybody is exhausted, anybody that has to deal with this virus, and its very, very exhausting,” he said.

“We are no different than the other schools across the state of Ohio where we have been affected in every manner imaginable,” said the superintendent of Mansfield schools.

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