Update morning of November 8th: The following was sent out to families this morning:
Due to unusually high number of bus driver call-outs, schools may not be able to notify families that not all busses are in place this morning. Plan for alternate transportation today.
An email sent out by Howard County Public School System on November 7th
Dear HCPSS Families,
We have learned that bus providers in some parts of the state may take action that will impact school bus services this week. HCPSS staff have been in constant contact with our bus providers and drivers directly over the last several days and do not expect interruptions at this time.
That being said, we wanted to make families and staff aware of the possibility of disruption to transportation so you are prepared to provide an alternate form of transportation in the event that there are any interruptions or delays.
HCPSS does not have its own bus fleet, nor are the bus drivers HCPSS employees. Rather, HCPSS utilizes several contractors for this purpose. We have been working with contractors in recent weeks to enhance incentive pay for drivers for retention and recruitment and it is our sincere hope that disruption will not occur. Unfortunately, the pandemic has exacerbated the bus driver shortages we typically face and has put a significant burden on bus drivers. Recognizing this, we have been proactively working to ensure that we provide additional compensation to the bus drivers who care for our children every day.
Please know that staff from the HCPSS Office of Student Transportation will be monitoring the situation tomorrow morning and all week, and will provide schools with updates if routes can’t be covered or buses will be late. Your child’s school likely will send updates via text or email if disruption is expected. In the event of a bus disruption, students will not be marked tardy to school.
If you choose to drive your child to school, please be prepared for a larger-than-usual car loop and plan accordingly.
Thank you for your understanding as we continue to navigate the myriad of challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
If more information is released I will update this article.