Massachusetts activates National Guard to help get kids to school during bus driver shortage
· Sep 15, 2021 ·

Did you know there was a nationwide school bus driver shortage?

Well there is.

And in Massachusetts they've gone ahead and activated the National Guard to take care of that problem.

I'm not kidding.

The National Guard is going to be bussing kids to school in Massachusetts.

Told you!

So yeah, this is weird.

Up to 250 members will be available to cities and towns, the state announced Monday.

They will be able to drive school transport vans, known as 7D vehicles...

Starting Tuesday, 90 members will prepare to get to work in Chelsea, Lawrence, Lowell, and Lynn.

Man, I sure hope these folks will be wearing civilian clothing.

Because the thought of someone in military gear driving me to school just creeps me out.

I always knew school was just a prison disguised as a learning center.

On the bright side, maybe the Guard could get some recruiting in while they're greeting kids in the morning and afternoon. We've got a lot of soft kids out there, and I know some guys with funny hats that might be able to fix that problem.

So if you're in Massachusetts and you see a bunch of kids in a school-bus-looking van being driven by a National Guard member, just try to remember that you're not in some weird dystopian sci-fi novel. It's just 2021, and, as of today, nobody's written that novel yet. But I'm sure someone's on it.

Real quick I'm gonna give you some info on the nationwide school bus driver shortage I found over at NPR. They were covering a nationwide survey, which sheds some light on the depth of this problem.

Here goes:

Many drivers were furloughed during the COVID-19 school closures in 2020, while others took the chance to retire. Respondents to the survey were most likely to say that the pay they were able to offer was a major factor affecting their ability to recruit drivers…

Brand-new bus drivers can't be hired on the spot like retail or fast-food workers; they need commercial driver's licenses. A second factor in the shortage, Macysyn pointed out, is that in many places over the past year and a half, departments of motor vehicles were closed or had limited operations, so people couldn't get their road tests or update their qualifications.

In Chicago, vaccine mandates have become an issue.

In Chicago this week, 70 bus drivers, about 10% of the workforce, abruptly quit over the district's new COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

So that's encouraging!

Sorry for my sarcasm.

I don't even want to get into the vaccine mandate stuff. If you're going to require it for your employees, you're going to see a shortage in employees. That's very easy to understand.

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