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Bus driver shortages putting strain on schools across Tulsa County

Posted at 3:42 AM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 17:09:12-05

TULSA, Okla. — Schools across Green Country are dealing with COVID-19 cases and staffing shortages.

READ MORE: Green Country schools moving to distance learning amid coronavirus pandemic

Union Public Schools staffing shortages mean that their buses are no longer running. UPS decided to halt most transportation November 19th. It was either that or send all elementary students home for distanced learning.

READ MORE: Union district announces no bus service due to staffing issues

UPS Spokesperson Chris Payne said 45% of the available bus-drivers were out due to COVID-19 or quarantine, and with the district wanting to keep as many students in the classroom as possible, they said they believe it was the right thing to do.

Now, they are asking parents to take care of pick-up and drop-off until after Thanksgiving Break. Despite the fact, this may be a strain on families.

"I think parents have been understanding," Payne said. "A pandemic is not something that any of us have experienced before. There are many unexpected things, the big things that are affecting us, and shortages of people being out. That is something we always anticipated."

Many Union Public School parents took to Facebook with their frustrations about the decision. Some parents saying in-person learning isn't safe, while others are saying the district is making too many last-minute changes.

Every school district is hiring bus drivers right now. They all require similar things to apply, like an Oklahoma Drivers License. Tulsa Public Schools requires potential drivers to have a high school diploma, pass a background check, a physical, and a drug test. Other districts like Union require a commercial driver's license or CDL.

"We are continually, really continually hiring and doing training. We would love to have some people help out," Payne said.

If you're looking to apply for open positions in Union Public Schools, click here.

To apply for Tulsa Public Schools bus driver positions, click here.

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