Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has summoned 250 National Guard troops to fill in as school bus drivers, as the state is reeling from a shortage that is affecting most of the U.S.
Chelsea Public Schools announced that 15 troops will be driving North Reading Transportation school bus routes. Superintendent Almi G. Abeyta published a letter to parents on Twitter on Sept. 13 explaining the troops will be in uniform but will not be armed. They also started school bus-specific training that week.
Abeyta added that the troops will not start driving 7D school vans on routes until that training is completed. “All drivers will meet all state and local health and safety measures,” he relayed.
Abeyta also wrote that the National Guard troops will be accompanied on their routes by bus monitors.
“This will ensure that students are picked up for school on time and returned home on time, so that they can have a productive day in school,” he said.
According to local reports, National Guard troops will also be dispatched to at least three other school districts — Lawrence Public Schools, Lowell Public Schools, and Lynn Public Schools.
It is common for National Guard troops to hold commercial driver’s licenses and drive school buses as passenger carriers on military bases or in times of natural disasters.
Reprinted with permission from School Transportation News. Read the original post.