COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine confirmed on Tuesday that he is discussing possible remedies with the Ohio National Guard to quell a shortage in school bus drivers.
DeWine’s comments came as several school districts have announced closures due to not having school bus drivers. Some districts have reported not having enough drivers due to coronavirus-related quarantines.
“What I don't know is whether or not we have a viable alternative for these schools,” DeWine said. “Most superintendents have my email, and I'm getting emails from them talking about the school bus driver shortage, and I'm hearing from parents about what that means that a child that normally would be dropped off at 5 o'clock or at 4 o'clock is now on the bus until 5:15 or 5:20, so these are real stories, these are real people, this is clearly a real, real problem out there.”
DeWine said he hopes to offer a possible solution in the coming days.
“We're looking at manpower situations, so we're looking at who else in our communities in the state has the legal ability to drive a bus and has the skill sets needed to drive a bus,” DeWine added. “Obviously, these buses contain our most precious things that we have, and that’s our children. And so we want to make sure whatever we do, we do it in a very careful, careful manner. So, it's a problem. I recognize it’s a problem.”
Among the districts that had to close early in the school year was Athens City. The district closed for three days as several transportation officials were in close contact with someone with COVID-19.
Greenon Local Schools, located between Dayton and Springfield, announced Tuesday students who normally ride the bus would need picked up. An alert on the district website said contact tracing was being performed after a driver tested positive for COVID-19.
All activities on Tuesday, and school on Wednesday, were canceled as a result of the driver shortage.
Earlier this month, Wilmington Schools closed for a day, citing illnesses and absences.
“Over the last few weeks we have experienced similar challenges and have managed to double up routes,” Wilmington Schools said in a statement earlier this month.
Spectrum News 1 reporter Peter Grieve contributed to this report.