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Newport News students concerned about overcrowded buses caused by bus driver shortages

Newport News Public Schools bus driver shortage.PNG
Posted at 11:24 PM, Sep 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-30 23:24:42-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Like many school divisions across Hampton Roads, the Newport News Public Schools district is experiencing bus driver shortages. Parents and students are concerned about overcrowded school buses.

"We’ll get an email every day that somebody - a parent, a student - has been in contact with COVID."

Carl Hanson, a parent of a middle school student in Newport News, says he receives emails like that frequently, stating that someone in the school has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

"She goes to Gildersleeve Middle, right at the end of the street," Hanson said when referring to his daughter.

There is a school bus driver shortage in Newport News, with the school district needing to fill several positions. Hansen’s daughter says she’s concerned about crowded buses because of the number of COVID cases.

"Three to a seat. It's awful sitting three to a seat because some people like to pull down their mask," said Chloe, a student at Gildersleeve Middle School.

She says since she doesn’t have assigned seating on her bus, she’s worried about the spread of COVID.

"Since they don’t have tracing information, then if I’m sitting by a student that has COVID and tested positive, I wouldn’t know."

Another student attending school in Newport News says she’s noticed the impacts of bus driver shortages and overcrowded buses.

"We’ll have to sit three to a seat, and it's crazy because kids won’t wear their mask or they will have it below their nose," said Emily, who also attends Gildersleeve Middle.

The student says she’s concerned about catching the virus without knowing.

"It's really scary because I come home to my grandma every day, and they’re old. I have an aunt who has Lupus. It's really bad, and she has kids and coming home to my dad, who works every single day. It's really scary," Emily said.

Although health officials say the infection of COVID-19 is low among children, the virus has killed 695,000 people in the United States.

Related: Parents concerned after some kids in Virginia Beach have to quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure

"It's just something we’re going to have to get use to. It's no different than the flu - we’re just going to have to get used to it and take our precautions," Hanson said.

Click here for more Safely at School coverage.