As schools move from virtual learning or hybrid to in-person learning, many are facing challenges of driver shortages. Many schools are challenged with keeping students and staff safe, sanitization and new protocols and less drivers. In the past few weeks, you've also most likely been in contact with your bus drivers about coming back to work – having many who've agreed to do so. However, when it's time to resume routes, some may come to find out that they actually feel more uncomfortable about their return than they originally thought.
School Transportation News suggests that low school bus driver pay, lack of benefits, the need for Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL), a background/fingerprinting check as a job requirement, and having miniscule support from school management of misbehaving students and/or parents are just some of the issues to blame. Mark Clawson, transportation director of New Hanover County Public Schools in North Carolina, told School Bus Fleet that the team had almost 35 fewer drivers slashing bus capacity in half and requiring multiple and quicker runs.
It's even left some schools looking inward to alleviate the issue at its core. In an article published earlier this year, School Transportation News highlighted Kentucky's Fancy Farm Elementary principal Janet Throgmorton's efforts towards assisting her school district with field trip costs and the driver shortages. She explained to the publication, "It was difficult to get drivers for field trips and for several years when budgets were great, our district didn’t charge us transportation costs for a field trip because it was educational in nature, but then we reached a point where we were going to have to pay for those things.”
If you've found yourself in the same "bus" as these folks, you might find that you're asking yourself questions like:
- "What does my coverage really look like?"
- "How will I cover a driver for 14
days (or more) if they test positive for COVID-19 after starting in-person learning?"
- "What if it's more than one driver?"
These can very well be some of the most difficult things to plan for. The good news is that the right transportation partner can help with these challenges with an action-based plan in-hand to address variables like covering sick drivers and knowing the ins and outs of your coverage.
It’s getting close to the end of the school year and there’s little time left to get planning for next year. Instead of taking the time and using the resources that would be required to publish your own RFP, you can utilize a cooperative contract, like ALC Schools, through OMNIA Partners to have a competitively-solicited contract for a quick and compliant solution to your alternative student transportation needs.
Using a cooperative contract for alternative student transportation helps provide a consistent, compliant, and cost savings approach for your district.
ALC Schools provide an unlimited fleet of adaptive vehicles including mini-vans, SUV's, and sedans and deliver safe, reliable, consistent, and cost-saving supplemental transportation. Drivers and vehicles meet federal, state, and district-specific requirements along with ALC Schools stringent training and on-going compliance. Learn more at https://www.omniapartners.com/publicsector/suppliers/alc-schools/overview
See other blog posts related to alternative transportation: