A southern Michigan school district is currently keeping students at home through Friday due to a shortage of bus drivers who are quarantining following exposure to COVID-19.
The Associated Press reported that Superintendent Randy Davis said drivers have been quarantined and there aren’t enough substitutes to take their place.
“Because of our commitment to making sure that everyone has equal access to quality education, we’re going to go ahead and do virtual for everyone at this juncture to get through this period of time,” Davis said.
“We always bring on new drivers, new subs. There’s attrition that happens normally in normal circumstances, let alone during a COVID year. I think every district is struggling with that,” Davis told WOOD-TV. “Historically, we’ve been able to ask our neighbors for assistance with additional drivers, additional buses. We’ve leant buses out to our neighboring districts when they’ve been in a pinch. We all support each other. At this point, nobody has the flexibility to do that.”
He learned about the situation late Tuesday night and also noted that families had to find child care options with short notice.
“There’s no good timing with these things,” Davis told the Battle Creek Enquirer.
The Biden administration has received criticism for the delay in schools resuming in-person education around the country. Late last month, the U.S. Department of Education reported that around “half of elementary and middle schools were open full-time in person, according to the Institute of Education Sciences (49 percent as of February 2021).”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki recently defended the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) after it received criticism for appearing to tailor its guidance on schools reopening toward the desires of teachers unions.
The Daily Wire reported that the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), led by Randi Weingarten, appears to have lobbied the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep schools shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic and “even suggested language for the federal agency’s school-reopening guidance released in February,” according to a report from the New York Post, based on emails between the AFT and CDC.
“The powerful teachers union’s full-court press preceded the federal agency putting the brakes on a full re-opening of in-person classrooms, emails between top CDC, AFT, and White House officials show,” the Post reported.
The CDC later admitted that “science” was not the sole driving factor in establishing its school reopening guidelines and that officials coordinated with “outside groups” to make its recommendations on the subject, per a report from The Daily Wire.
As reported by The Hill, Psaki said in a statement, “It’s actually longstanding best practice for the CDC to engage with organizations, groups that are going to be impacted by guidance and recommendations issued by the agency.”
She added, “It doesn’t mean they are taking everything they want, or even a percentage of what they want.”
“But it’s important to understand the implementation components,” Psaki continued. “They do so to ensure that recommendations are feasible and that they adequately address the safety and well-being of the individuals the guidance is aimed to protect. So, the CDC engaged with around 50 stakeholders that are on the front lines in this pandemic and have requisite perspective for the guidance.”