School buses and COVID-19: We need you

From The Road Forward Health and Safety Guidance for the 2021-2022 School Year
Healthy and Safety Guidance for 2021-2022 School year

School buses do not appear to have changed as a result of COVID-19, but why are so many children who used to ride the school bus now being asked to be picked up by their parents? Besides, why are some students still taking the school bus this year?

Before COVID, Mr. Stadtlander, Eastern Christian transportation coordinator, said that there were two sorts of school buses: shuttle buses and route buses. More specifically, the shuttle bus is a mode of transportation that runs from high school to elementary school and middle school. Transporting kids to school from a convenient location known as a route bus.

The route bus route was canceled. According to the present situation, the school will continue to employ the shuttle bus for students. Mr. Stadtlander explains why some students are still able to take the bus to school.

“It was mainly because fewer EC students were needing to be shuttled over the years. This decrease in riders increased the cost per individual and made it too much of a financial burden on families for it to be worthwhile. For these reasons, the school made the hard decision to forgo routes throughout North Jersey. Buses are still essential for school trips, service days, and athletics,” Mr. Stadtlander responded to the question of why the school canceled the regular school bus.

The shortage of bus drivers is now a problem for schools nationally. Eastern Christian has three drivers right now who aren't teachers or coaches. Moreover, 6 teachers with bus driver's licenses are able to drive. Over the last two years, the school bus has lost more than seven drivers. According to Mr. Stadtlander and various research, the lack of bus drivers is caused by the following causes. Initially, bus drivers must serve both morning and evening shifts. Some people would rather not waste time getting from their homes to their schools. Second, experienced school bus drivers are concerned about driving a school bus during a critical COVID period. Furthermore, protocol prohibits anyone under the age of 16 from receiving vaccinations. The health of bus drivers is a concern for them. Lastly, only a small percentage of the population holds a Commercial Driver's License.

Furthermore, Mr. Stadtlander points out that, in order to remedy the situation, EC has increased the hourly wage of bus drivers and has granted a one-time stipend to anyone who interested in obtaining their CDL (in addition to full training and compensation for the cost of getting a CDL).

If any adults are interested in serving the school through driving, please contact Mr. Stadtlander to inquire: