Local school districts are feeling the effects of the national bus driver shortage.
Joliet districts have sent communications to parents and families that being short drivers could cause slower than usual transportation to school at least to start the new year.
“In response to the personnel shortage, we have adjusted bus routes/bus stops to be able to provide the most reliable transportation services to as many of our qualifying students as possible,” Joliet Public Schools District 86 Superintendent Theresa Rouse said in a letter to families shortly before the new year.
District 86 spokeswoman Sandy Zalewski said the two bus companies the district contracts with for its transportation services have about 15 to 20 vacancies they are looking to fill between them. In addition, the companies are also limiting the number of students on a bus from a maximum of 72 to around 50 to allow for more physical distancing.
Zalewski said the bus companies have been cutting down the number of stops on their route to speed up the process so students may have to walk a little farther than usual to and from their stop.
Joliet Township High School District 204 spokeswoman Kristine Schlismann said the district is also down around 20 bus drivers from what they need. The district also sent a letter to families ahead of the new year explaining how it has consolidated routes and modified pick up times.
If students arrive to class late to class due to transportation issues, the district said they will not be penalized.