Orange County school buses overcrowded due to driver shortage, leaving students to sit on the floor

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County school students say the bus driver shortage is now forcing them to ride to school on the floors of buses.

University High Student Sarit Cielo said buses are now packed to the brim, causing her and many other students to sit on the floor just to fit on board.

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“It’s uncomfortable being squished and crowded,” said Sarit Cielo.

Her mom, Monica Cielo, tells us she’s concerned for not only the spread of coronavirus — but the possible safety risks.

READ: Mom says schools aren’t doing enough to protect children ineligible for COVID-19 vaccine

“What if there’s a car accident? I mean it’s just so dangerous not only for my kids but everybody else’s kids,” said Monica Cielo.

Monica Cielo said she has reached out to the school district with her concerns. They responded to her by email saying it’s due to a bus driver shortage. The district is holding job fairs to solve the issue. It’s even offering a $3,500 bonus for those hired by October 8.

READ: U.S. Dept. of Education to investigate Florida’s mask mandate ban as possible civil rights violation

Eyewitness News also reached out to the district for a response to the issue. OCPS sent us this statement:

“We are looking into the situation in order to determine whether this is an OCPS bus. If it is confirmed that this is in fact one of our buses, we will work to correct the situation immediately. This is not acceptable and is not in accordance with our standard protocols, as the safety of our students is our first priority. Bus drivers are not to allow for students to sit or stand on the aisle of the bus. We continue to address the bus operator shortage by holding three job fairs in the coming days. Please visit ocps.net to apply.”

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