There's been a shortage of school bus drivers - locally, statewide and across the country - for years now, and Acadiana has been no different.
But COVID is making that long-standing struggle even worse.
According to a release, LPSS transportation staff worked over the summer to make sure all routes were covered for the start of school.
"However in the midst of a pandemic, as many other districts across the state and nation are experiencing, there are many variables that are out of our control that can cause delays or cancellation of routes at certain points," the release states. "LPSS is utilizing all resources, including our pool of substitute bus drivers, to ensure transportation for students to and from school. As needed, buses are also making double runs to help provide transportation to as many students as possible when a bus driver is out. A double run will cause delays, as will traffic, road construction, and other unforeseen circumstances."
LPSS says they use the notification system to let parents know when routes are delayed or canceled, and that a cancelation is a "last resort." They're urging parents to have a contingency plan, in case bus routes are canceled.
“This situation is not unique to Lafayette Parish, and we will continue to do our best to provide transportation to our students. We understand the frustration and stress that parents are experiencing when bus routes are delayed or canceled. We are so very appreciative of our drivers and transportation department who continue to go above and beyond to do their best to safely transport students to and from school during a global pandemic,” said Superintendent Irma D. Trosclair.
The release also says it is important that parents provide updated contact information to ensure that they are receiving these important notifications from transportation, the district, and individual schools. To double-check, visit: https://www.lpssonline.com/family-resources/parent-portal-new to verify the accuracy of your contact information. Changes can also be made at the school level, officials say.
Any individual interested in becoming a substitute bus driver should call 337.521.7447.