On Monday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced he was activating the National Guard to help transport students to school amid a shortage of bus drivers in the state.
“The safe and reliable transportation to school each day is critical to our children’s safety and education,” Baker wrote on Twitter. “Today, I activated up to 250 members of [the Massachusetts National Guard] to support and assist local communities in their school transportation efforts.”
The safe and reliable transportation to school each day is critical to our children's safety and education.
Today, I activated up to 250 members of @TheNationsFirst to support and assist local communities in their school transportation efforts.
— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) September 13, 2021
“These Guard personnel will be available to serve as drivers of school transport vans known as 7D vehicles to address staffing shortages in certain districts,” the governor’s office said in a statement. “As with any school transportation worker, all activated Guard personnel will complete vehicle training to ensure the safety of children and families. Drivers will meet all statutory requirements for 7D drivers. Throughout the mission, the Guard will comply with all health and safety measures.”
According to NBC Boston, 15 Guard drivers will be available in Lowell, Massachusetts, by the end of the week and they will continue to work until permanent drivers are able to fill their slots.
“The shortage of school bus drivers has been a challenge for school districts across the country this year. We have been working together with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to come up with solutions to transport students safely to and from school each day. We are thankful for Governor Baker’s partnership,” Lowell schools Superintendent Joel Boyd said.
The service was offered to Boston, Massachusetts, but the city declined it for now. According to Boston Mayor Kim Janey, almost all buses arrive within 15 minutes of bell time.
“This morning, 94% of buses arrived within 15 minutes of the bell time and 98% arrived within 30 minutes of the bell time. The Boston Public Schools (BPS) is committed to doing everything possible to ensure all students in the City of Boston are getting to and from school safe and on time,” Janey said in a statement.