Fayette County forced to cancel some bus routes due to driver illnesses/shortage

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – It’s like having a sports team with no bench or substitutes.  Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS) has been forced to cancel some bus routes on only the second day of classes because drivers called in sick and the district doesn’t have enough substitute drivers, according to the school system.

Here are the affected buses:

-Bus 313 with service to Brenda Cowan Elementary School and Frederick Douglass High School.

-Bus 17 with service to Henry Clay High School.

-Bus 217 with service to Dixie Elementary School.

Families are being asked to find a way to get their student(s) to school and if they can’t, the absence will be excused, according to the district.

Superintendent Demetrus Liggins sent a letter to families Wednesday evening.

The letter in its entirety is below:

Dear Fayette County Public Schools Families:

Thank you for helping make today a great first day of school for students! It was a joy to have everyone back on campus together.

I’m writing tonight to make our families aware of a challenge we are facing, because I am committed to being forthright with our community.

It is no secret that businesses across our nation are having a difficult time hiring enough staff. Fayette County Public Schools has been open over the past several years about our bus driver shortage and undertaken many creative strategies to recruit and retain drivers. We have also looked for route efficiencies to reduce the number of drivers needed, while not reducing services to students and families.

Despite these efforts, we started the 2021-22 school year with 25 openings for bus drivers. Thankfully, we have 31 transportation employees who have the correct licensure available to cover open routes. Unfortunately, we have had several drivers call in sick for tomorrow morning, depleting our available coverage.

This evening we have had to take the extraordinary step of cancelling four bus routes – Bus 313 with service to Brenda Cowan Elementary School, Bus 313 with service to Frederick Douglass High School, Bus 17 with service to Henry Clay High School and Bus 217 with service to Dixie Elementary School. This is certainly not an ideal situation and we deeply apologize that we have had to inconvenience our families.

We will continue to look for a long-term solution to this challenge, but in the meantime, wanted to make all of our families aware of this situation. In the future, we may be forced to cancel a route that impacts your family. Please think about alternative arrangements you may be able to make to ensure you have a back-up plan, should this be the case.

Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding. If you know anyone who is interested in becoming a bus driver, bus monitor, or child nutrition team member, please encourage them to visit www.fcps.net/jobs to submit an application.

 

Demetrus Liggins, PhD

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