Rochester City School parents want different alternatives to working around Bus Driver shortage

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ROCHESTER, N.Y (WROC) — The Rochester City School District is supposed to be welcoming kids back into school for a new year less than one week from now. But the district has announced they’re still unsure how they can get their kids to school.  

The shortage of bus drivers is nothing new but when parents learned it’s bad enough to where the district reopening plan could be altered at the last minute, many grew frustrated.  

To work around not having enough bus drivers for the district Rochester City Schools proposes pushing back the start of the school year or switching high schoolers to full virtual learning. Parents throughout the district have problems with that.  

“I have to be at work at 6:00 am,” Tamika Jones who has a son at East High told us. “So, me getting him to school is not an option. It’s just not an option and unfair that we have to have these decisions so close to school starting.” 

“The city school district knew of this situation with the bus drivers long before 2021 ever even came,” Lisa Dennis who has a grandson at East High added. “That should have been something that was right there in front important to have those drivers in place.”  

Another option discussed at Friday’s board meeting was making kids who live within 1.5 miles of each campus must walk to and from school. Even If it meant going back to in-person learning some parents fear for their kid’s safety.  

“Some people live in dangerous neighborhoods and the small children I don’t think should be walking past the people that might hurt them,” Jones said. “I think it’s just dangerous in the wintry weather and early in the morning while it’s still dark outside.” 

As of Friday night, no official decision has been made to accommodate the bus driver shortage, but parents want it to come soon for the good of their kids’ education to get back on track.  

“He wanted to get back in school so that interaction with other students is very important,” Michael Dennis said about his Grandson at East High. “Also being engaged with the teachers is very vital.” 

“In virtual life, they do not pay attention,” Jones argued. “They just doze off like he did not like virtual at all. He liked it in person. He is an in-person hands-on type of kid. So, he needs to be in class and not on the computer.” 

Other potential moves to come out of the district include eliminating Walker Busses for schools or ask families to transport students. Either way, the first day of school is scheduled right now for September 9th. 

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