Along with the challenge of implementing new procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on school buses, two of the three local school districts started the year short on bus drivers.
Bus drivers are always hard to come by. Nationwide theres a shortage of bus drivers on a regular basis, said Betty Jo Peterson, Picayune School District Transportation Director.
We had a couple that did not come back due to COVID-19, but we always start off the year a little short.
The Picayune School District started the year with 35 drivers, two less than Peterson would like. Two weeks before the semester started she needed four drivers, but two former bus drivers returned.
The Poplarville School District started this semester five drivers short, said Transportation Director Rossie Creel. The district has 24 regular routes, so needs at least 24 full time drivers and one full time substitute.
Some drivers in Poplarville left due to COVID-19 concerns, while others left for better paying jobs. Every driver who left their full time position stayed on as a part time substitute, said Creel.
At both school districts, staff members who are certified to drive school buses fill in when needed.
Were very blessedwe have a great superintendent that if I get short, hell get on a bus and drive, said Peterson.
Currently, all bus driver positions in the Pearl River County School District are filled, said Pearl River County Transportation Director Lisa Beech.
Basically theres peaks and valleys. Youll go through a shortage of a few and then a couple months later youve got all your positions filled. Its difficult to say what really causes that, said Beech.
Often, drivers leave for better paying jobs, said Beech. Creel noted that bus drivers are not paid especially well.
Most of the people that work here, they love working with children, theyre not looking for a full time job and theyre not here for the pay, said Beech.
Becoming a Driver
Bus drivers in the Picayune School District need to be able to pass a background check and a drug screen, as well as have a license with endorsements for CDL B with air brakes, passenger and school bus, said Peterson.
If they dont have the license part we can help them train, she said.Along with good driving skills, school bus drivers need patience and a love for children, said Beech.
Bus drivers now face the additional risks and work that comes with a pandemic. But the Pearl River County School District has not had any drivers leave due to COVID-19, which Beech credits to additional measures the district has taken to make buses safer.
We have automatic temperature checks installed in our buses. We also have hand sanitizer stations in the stairwell as people are getting on the bus. We feel like with those extra measures, everyone on the bus is safer, said Beech.
With the automatic temperature checks, students will present their forehead or wrist as they board the bus. The no touch device beeps once if the temperature is acceptable and twice if it detects the student has a fever.
The driver just has to listen for the beep, said Beech.
The districts business manager is a very forward thinker and found the devices early in the pandemic, she said.
With the statewide mask mandate passed by Governor Tate Reeves on Tuesday, children are required to wear a mask on school buses.
We had an amazing day yesterday, said Peterson. For first days, I would probably count it as one of our best. Im just amazed with how well the students have done with the masks, even the little bitty ones. Theyre troopers.
School districts are also loading buses from back to front to prevent students from walking past each other, enacting additional cleaning and encouraging parents to drop their child off at school when they can.
Creel said the Poplarville School District is asking parents to check their childs temperature before putting them on a school bus. Student temperatures will be taken once they arrive at school. As the semester begins, transportation may be slowed due to the development of bus seating charts, he said.
In the Pearl River County District, parents need to request transportation through the transportation department, whereas before it was automatic, said Beech. If a parent needs to request transportation and has not spoken with the districts transportation department already, they can call 601-798-9977.
All three districts have shortened the time spent in class in order to have additional time for transportation.
The Pearl River County School District has added additional routes to reduce the number of students on the bus. The Poplarville School District was unable to add routes because it covers such a large geographic region, according to previous coverage. Due to the driver shortage Picayune School District combined some routes, said Peterson, but she still expects the number of students on buses to be lower than previous years.
Theres not as many registered and there are many parents bringing kids to school, she said.
The school districts have differences in how they are running their buses, along with broader differences in how they are reopening schools. Beech said its good that districts have the ability to make reopening plans specific to their resources and needs.
Each district is different, as far as money it receives for education, some are more rural and some are more city, which makes a difference as far as transportation and for Internet, said Beech.
While Picayune and Poplarvilles school districts started classes on Thursday, buses in the Pearl River County School District will not run until Aug. 17.
Their semester starts Aug. 13, but the first two days will be virtual to educate students on the various procedures before they return to a physical campus. The two days of virtual instruction will also provide a test run to ensure students and parents can access virtual education in case a closure occurs.
After five months without school buses on county roads Peterson is worried distracted driving and texting while driving could be a significant problem, she said. In recent years, the district has added brighter lights on school buses to make them more visible.
Keep your eyes on the road. Keep your eyes on the buses, said Peterson.
- UFC's Steven Peterson boycotts fighting in Texas, says 'commission is f*cked' - MMA Junkie - May 29th, 2021
- Keston Hiura returns to Brewers, Alec Bettinger optioned and Jace Peterson DFAd - Brew Crew Ball - May 29th, 2021
- Michigan State Baseball: Bailey Peterson wins Big Ten Player of the Week - The Only Colors - May 29th, 2021
- Charming D.B. Cooper suspect Sheridan Peterson dies at 94, spent years dedicated to political causes - OregonLive - January 31st, 2021
- Bird Droppings: Arizona Cardinals at the Pro Bowl, Patrick Peterson talks, Bruce Arians in the Super Bowl and - Revenge of the Birds - January 31st, 2021
- Peterson, Langford, Colson, Morgan, Zubcic named in BCL team of January - Eurohoops - January 31st, 2021
- T.I. and Tiny Deny Allegations of Drugging and Sexual Coercion - Vulture - January 31st, 2021
- Greg Peterson will succeed Bob Bjorklund as Bethel AD - TwinCities.com-Pioneer Press - January 31st, 2021
- 2021 IPPE: How has COVID-19 impacted the US broiler industry? - The Poultry Site - January 31st, 2021
- Peterson: Can pulsating brake lights reduce rear-end collisions? - Fleet Owner - December 17th, 2020
- Patrick Peterson shows off need for speed with impressive car collection - Arizona Sports - December 17th, 2020
- Sight unseen, Jessica Peterson finds everything she was looking for at UNK - krvn.com - December 17th, 2020
- Brewers Reportedly Sign Slugging 1B Dustin Peterson To Minors Deal - Reviewing the Brew - December 17th, 2020
- Early Signing Day: 2021 OLB Darryl Peterson signs with Wisconsin - Bucky's 5th Quarter - December 17th, 2020
- Jeremy Adams and Brandon Peterson on Flash #768 in March 2021 - Bleeding Cool News - December 17th, 2020
- Peterson announces funding to increase college broadband capacity - Record Herald - December 17th, 2020
- Peterson Health says it will know Wednesday when it will receive Pfizer vaccine - dailytimes.com - December 17th, 2020
- Lions' Week 15 Thursday Injury Report: Stafford, Ragnow, Golladay, Hand Out - Sports Illustrated - December 17th, 2020
- 28-year sentence recommended in fatal beating at Fargo apartment - INFORUM - December 17th, 2020
- Will the Defeat of Democrat Collin Peterson Be Good for the Climate? - Mother Jones - November 7th, 2020
- Letter: 'Whether or not Mr. Peterson was involved in drug crime, he should not have feared for his life, and he should not be dead, over something as... - November 7th, 2020
- Collin Peterson loses in CD-7, tight races in CD-1 and CD-2 - Bring Me The News - November 7th, 2020
- With roles reversed, Lee and Peterson face off again for NC Senate seat - Port City Daily - October 19th, 2020
- 198 thoughts on The Strange Fate of Jordan Peterson - Book and Film Globe - October 19th, 2020
- Patrick Peterson on how to defeat Cowboys without Dak Prescott: 'We have to force Andy Dalton to beat us' - CBS Sports - October 19th, 2020
- The Most Vulnerable Incumbent In The House Is A Democrat, But Republicans Are Defending More Competitive Seats - FiveThirtyEight - October 19th, 2020
- OU football: Joe Mixon and Adrian Peterson score, Baker Mayfield struggles, Sooners in the NFL week 6 - The Oklahoma Daily - October 19th, 2020
- Adrian Peterson passes Walter Payton on this list with latest rushing TD - 97.1 The Ticket - October 19th, 2020
- Patrick Peterson: LB Isaiah Simmons 'not technically ready' for extensive role - Cards Wire - October 19th, 2020
- Letter | Peterson will serve Morrow County well as commissioner - East Oregonian - October 19th, 2020
- Peterson family still swinging at the LCC Foundation Golf Classic - Neuse News - October 19th, 2020
- Peterson catches two TDs in 42-28 win over Campus - The Hutchinson News - October 19th, 2020
- Peterson offers fresh perspective | Letters To The Editor - Mankato Free Press - October 10th, 2020
- President Trump & AG Barr Sued for Vindictive Prosecution Against Black Politician Robert Peterson & Fields Associates Announced today -... - October 10th, 2020
- Olson, Peterson inducted into York Area Ag Hall of Fame - York News-Times - October 10th, 2020
- Adrian Peterson and the Vikings Won an Ultra-Rare Tuesday Night Game in 2010 - Sportscasting - October 10th, 2020
- Things to Do in Miami: Karen Peterson and Dancers' Virtual 30th Anniversary - Miami New Times - October 10th, 2020
- Fantasy football fallout post-NFL roster cuts: Adrian Peterson, Antonio Gibson, Cam Akers and more | Fantasy Football News, Rankings and Projections -... - September 8th, 2020
- Former Vikings RB Adrian Peterson to sign with Lions - Vikings Wire - September 8th, 2020
- Will Adrian Peterson Be The Latest Addition To The Tom Brady Revolution In Tampa Bay? - Essentially Sports - September 8th, 2020
- Jordan Peterson - Wikipedia - September 2nd, 2020
- Mets shuffle starting rotation plans, including David Peterson to bullpen - Yahoo Sports - September 2nd, 2020
- Adrian Peterson rushing to catch Emmitt Smith in record books - Richmond Free Press - September 2nd, 2020
- Mets pitcher Steven Matz is hearing the footsteps of David Peterson - Rising Apple - September 2nd, 2020
- Recent Graduate Receives Fulbright Grant to Teach in Spain - ISU Bengal Online - September 2nd, 2020
- Letter: Peterson | Letters To The Editor | record-eagle.com - Traverse City Record Eagle - September 2nd, 2020
- Peterson family named conservationists of the year in Rice County, Minn. - AberdeenNews.com - August 31st, 2020
- Adrian Peterson Believes He Still Has a Lot to Prove - NBC4 Washington - August 31st, 2020
- Adrian Peterson still out to prove something - WUSA9.com - August 31st, 2020
- Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Caroline Peterson, University of Texas (McCombs) - Poets&Quants - August 31st, 2020
- Bay Area air-quality forecast for the week ahead - SF Gate - August 31st, 2020
- What the hail? P-S GAR JA can offer help - csmng - August 31st, 2020
- Female Truckers to Honor Women's Suffrage on Trip - Transport Topics - August 31st, 2020
- Will County coroner announces retirement | The Herald-News - The Herald-News - August 31st, 2020
- Breaking down the Washington backfield for fantasy football: Can Adrian Peterson hold off Antonio Gibson and Bryce Love? | Fantasy Football News,... - August 10th, 2020
- Nielsen pulls ahead of Peterson in the Gilbert mayoral race, while Tilque, Anderson and Hendrix lead in council races - AZCentral - August 10th, 2020
- Metros Lynn Peterson offers to reduce payroll tax rate in transportation package if business group remains - OregonLive - August 10th, 2020
- High-throughput testing system latest addition to combat COVID-19 at LRMC - United States Army - August 10th, 2020
- Adrian Peterson has goals: Breaking Emmitt Smiths rushing record, and a championship - The Dallas Morning News - August 10th, 2020
- Mobile COVID testing to soon hit the road in central Pa., will also deliver regular flu tests and shots - PennLive - August 10th, 2020
- Peterson: NCAA could be another casualty | News, Sports, Jobs - Daily Mining Gazette - August 10th, 2020
- Andrew Peterson farm donations grind to a halt; funding in jeopardy - SW News Media - August 10th, 2020
- Ducks in the show: Week Two - 247Sports - August 10th, 2020
- Rare tuna catch from shore attracts pack of giant roosters - For The Win - August 10th, 2020
- Peterson working to make sure HEROES Act ag provisions make it in final bill - brownfieldagnews.com - August 10th, 2020
- Controversial professor Jordan Peterson suffering with coronavirus and got worse after taking treatment dru - The Sun - August 10th, 2020
- David Peterson Continues Solid Stretch in Win Over Marlins - metsmerizedonline.com - August 10th, 2020
- Minnesota pastor appears on Penn and Teller's TV show | INFORUM - INFORUM - August 10th, 2020
- Professor Jordan Peterson reported to have COVID - The Bay Observer - Providing a Fresh Perspective for Hamilton and Burlington - August 10th, 2020
- SOUND OFF: Can trees, newspapers and Trump get any respect? - The Bakersfield Californian - August 10th, 2020
- Mets' Peterson getting more comfortable with every start - Newsday - August 9th, 2020
- 'Burnt orange runs through my veins': Westlake's Blake Peterson to play baseball at Texas - Hookem.com - August 9th, 2020
- Adrian Peterson reflects on favorite run of career back in 2009 - Vikings Wire - August 9th, 2020
- Peterson reports just five hospitalized from Kerr County with COVID-19 - dailytimes.com - August 8th, 2020
- Lake View City Officials Pleased To Announce New Lagoon Is Now Effectively Treating Wastewater - 1380 KCIM - August 8th, 2020
- Peterson has a slight lead in the Gilbert mayoral race, while Tilque, Anderson and Hendrix lead in council races - AZCentral - August 6th, 2020
- Nebraska AG Peterson Joins Bipartisan Coalition Urging Federal Government Action - STL.News - August 6th, 2020
- Lady Panthers volleyball camp integrates young players into the program - Liberty Hill Independent - August 6th, 2020
- 'Siesta Key': Fans Think Kelsey Owens Wanted to Dump Garrett Miller and Get Back With Jake Peterson All Along - Showbiz Cheat Sheet - August 6th, 2020
- Investigation into Cottonwood Heights Police regarding 'use of force,' policy reform discussions underway - fox13now.com - August 6th, 2020