‘Please have patience’: School bus driver shortage could delay students from getting home on time

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — School bus driver shortages have led some districts to warn parents about getting students home from school on time this afternoon.


Parents in Osceola and Orange counties were encouraged to give their children a ride to school on Friday morning.

They are also being asked to pick them up from school or carpool if they can.

READ: Osceola County parents: Expect your child’s school bus to be delayed today

The districts were concerned that many of their bus drivers and attendants would call in sick because today is Good Friday.

Osceola County school officials issued their warning earlier this week.

They feared bus drivers would take the day off because of Good Friday.

Things weren’t as bad as originally expected.

“Most of those people who had requested the day off, and were denied, actually reported to work today,” said Randy Wheeler, assistant director of school bus transportation.

READ: 9 students arrested, 13 suspended after several fights at Ocala middle school

Fewer than 21% of bus drivers called in sick on Friday.

The district averages an absence rate of between 17% to 21% daily.

“I believe in spite of this being a very sacred weekend, they felt an obligation to the students. So we started this morning,” Wheeler said.

Like every other school district in Central Florida, Osceola County is already dealing with a driver shortage because of the pandemic.

The district is 31 drivers down for its 242 routes.

Many drivers already run double and triple routes to make up the difference.

Orange County parents were given a similar warning.

Photos: 9 students arrested, 13 suspended after several fights at Ocala middle school

“Due to a high number of absences today, school buses may be running late, both this morning and this afternoon. Please have patience. If you can drive your student to school, that may be helpful,” a message said.

Eyewitness News also checked with Seminole County Public Schools, which said it did not have any bus driver issues on Friday.

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Q Mccray

Q McCray, WFTV.com

Q McCray is an award-winning general assignment reporter.