School bus delays in Parkland attributed to drivers’ sick leaves

Written by on December 15, 2021

School bus delays in Parkland attributed to drivers’ sick leaves

By Chloe Nouvelle

December 15, 2021

Transportation delays have been caused by bus drivers’ sick leaves, rather than a labor shortage. (Photo | J. Scott Applewhite/ AP / File)

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Parkland School District recently sent a warning to families that middle and high school students should be prepared for bus delays that may be up to 90 minutes long on any given day.

Val Strock, Parkland’s assistant director of school services for transportation, said the district’s bus delays had less to do with the nation’s worker shortage and more to do with drivers taking sick leave.

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“It’s not that we don’t have enough employees but the sickness right now has been really hurting us,” said Strock.

Strock explained that this is the first time he has seen Parkland experience widespread busing delays. 

Strock said some drivers have been out due to COVID-19 infections or contact tracing requirements, but other medical issues are sidelining drivers too.

“I have seven drivers currently out on surgeries. I mean, that’s something you truly can’t account for when somebody says ‘Hey, I gotta get my knee replaced.’ And they’re gonna be out for four to six weeks,” Strock said. 

Across the commonwealth, there is a crunch for school bus drivers. This fall, Pennsylvania’s transportation department reached out to nearly 400,000 commercial drivers asking for help with school bus routes.

Strock said none of the drivers he has reached out to have wanted to take the job.

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