Text message memo urges bus drivers to pick up any stranded Lee County school district students

Reporter: Sydney Persing Writer: Melissa Montoya
Published: Updated:
A text message memo to Lee school bus drivers urges them to pick up children who are stranded, but don’t belong on their bus route as the school district continues to deal with a shortage of drivers. (CREDIT: WINK News)

The bus driver shortage in Lee County is persisting and impacting students across Southwest Florida.

Buses are still late. Buses are still rerouted. And parents are still on fire about it.

Lee Schools Transportation Director Roger Lloyd understands every parent’s frustration. He knows he has a lot to fix.

In an exclusive interview with WINK News, Lloyd said he does not think the school district is meeting the legal obligation of transporting children to schools.

“You know, and I would say that, if we had three buses late, I would tell you, that’s not good enough,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd admits his team is nowhere near where it needs to be.

Despite increased incentives and recruitment efforts, the district still faces a critical shortage of bus drivers and the pandemic is not helping. The district has hired 30 new bus drivers, but another 34 have resigned.

“Even if everybody shows up to work, I still have at least 34 routes that don’t have drivers,” Lloyd said.

Many bus drivers are not comfortable with optional masks for students. A bus driver died last week of COVID-19.

On top of that, there are drivers in COVID-19 quarantine and another number of drivers that call off sick.

Bus drivers are scared, Lloyd said, which makes staffing an issue.

District leaders are sending a memo to bus drivers to make sure no child is left behind, but it’s raising safety concerns.

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