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Transportation Update: Our Drivers Keep Stepping Up to Help

Posted on: September 10, 2021

Wilmington has a very dedicated and loyal transportation department that cares deeply about the safety and education of our students.  However, due to a statewide shortage of bus drivers we struggle with having adequate numbers of substitute drivers when we experience multiple absences.  

 

On several occasions this year, with the flexibility of our drivers and cooperation of our students and families, we have doubled up on routes (Level 1 Plan).  This week we have had an unprecedented number of drivers out for medical reasons due to a combination of  COVID-related and non-COVID related illness.  Rather than closing school to 2400 students again as we did on Tuesday, we were able to have select drivers run multiple routes back to back (Level 2 Plan). This created some delays to 2 of our routes, but we were able to keep our schools open on Wednesday and Thursday.  However, by Thursday afternoon we had additional medical issues that necessitated canceling an entire route for Friday, September 10, 2021 as a Level 3 Plan.  This was a last resort to avoid closing schools entirely to 2400 students and not one that we chose lightly. We were able to notify affected parents at 5:30pm on Thursday in the hopes that it would provide them time to work out alternative transportation to and from school the next day. Friday we will be open, but with Level 1, 2, and 3 bus plans implemented. 

 

We are grateful for the understanding and patience of the WCS families impacted on those routes. While these are not ideal solutions, they enabled us to keep our schools open for more than 2400 students. 

 

We are also proud of our transportation department staff, our drivers, and our mechanics who have worked tirelessly the last few weeks to transport nearly 1500 students in a 161 square mile District. Many have taken on parts of other routes to get all our students to school. Others have added back to back routes to keep our schools open. Those that are absent are fighting a number of illnesses and medical emergencies. It is our hope that in the next week enough drivers and substitutes will be healthy and back in rotation and our families can be assured of transportation to and from school for their child.