Bus driver shortage impacts Holy Family

Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 10:30 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Parents who are part of the Catholic School system in Cedar Rapids learned the “Return to Learn” plans this week.

Students at Xavier will go to school for half days and do the other half online. Grades K-8 plan to be back in the classroom, 100%. However, a bus driver shortage means parents will have to find transportation for their kids.

“Trying to keep the kids healthy and keep them outside,” said Emery Tey, a parent of three in the Holy Family schools. “We are trying to make things as normal as we can.”

Tey and her kids are spending as much time outside coloring with chalk and blowing bubbles, but in two weeks they will return to school. She said she hadn’t decided whether that will be in-person or online but said she is leaning towards in-person. That would mean she would have to shuttle kids in the morning and afternoon.

“We are fortunate that I am able to stay home and we can take the kids back-and-forth,” she said. “It’s just another thing we have to try and consider. There’s a lot of parents that don’t have that option.”

The Cedar Rapids School District usually provides busing for four schools in the Catholic School system but because of a bus driver shortage that’s ending.

“Bus drivers were hard to come by before the pandemic hit,” said Xavier Communications Director Nick Ierland. “With the shortage of bus drivers at the Cedar Rapids school district, it’s a situation where they cannot provide busing. I think our families understand that. It’s still a challenge for a lot of them and were trying to find ways to move forward without the busing.”

Ireland said survey data shows only a small percentage of parents will have a difficult time getting their kids to and from school, but it’s still something they are trying to work out.

“Were employing our student services team to work with those families to find a way that might best suit their needs,” he said.

Ireland says plans are changing daily. As the end of the school year draws near, Tey said parents need to do what’s best for their families, whether that’s sending them to school in person or learning from home.

“We just have to keep moving forward,” she said. “Take one day at a time and just do our best that we can for our own families,” she said.

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