Leander ISD expects more bus delays Tuesday due to staffing shortages

Education

LEANDER, Texas (KXAN) — Another Central Texas school district has to delay buses due to staffing shortages Monday.

Leander Independent School District said it’s asking “for patience and grace” as buses will be delayed due to not having enough people to drive buses.

LISD officials said 26 bus drivers called in sick Monday morning, and “it’s reasonable to think COVID had an impact today.”

“We are making every effort to get your students to school,” LISD said on its website. “Please be patient and flexible as we work to run our routes.”

"I think we're definitely now kind of moving back to expecting that these sorts of things will happen more often," said Adam Plummer (center), who said his wife, Liz (center-left); daughter, Julia (left); and son, Matthew (right) are now coordinating with other neighbors for rides to and from school.  (Courtesy: Adam Plummer)
“I think we’re definitely now kind of moving back to expecting that these sorts of things will happen more often,” said Adam Plummer (center), who said his wife, Liz (center-left); daughter, Julia (left); and son, Matthew (right) are now coordinating with other neighbors for rides to and from school. (Courtesy: Adam Plummer)

“Our daughter had texted us and called us to let us know the bus wasn’t there,” said Adam Plummer, whose daughter, Julia, is an eighth grader at Canyon Ridge Middle School.

Plummer said they didn’t receive the school district’s email until 7:02 a.m.

“And our daughter walks out the door to the bus at 7:10. So we didn’t see it, to be honest,” he said.

He said a neighbor went to pick up their student from the bus stop and called the Plummers to ask if their daughter would like a ride, too.

LISD said “everyone in our transportation office who is available” is driving a bus Monday.

It’s hard to anticipate how many days the delays will take place, LISD said, but “there’s an obvious correlation between the surge in community spread and the number of school transportation staff available to drive.”

Monday night, Plummer received the email below from LISD to expect delays Tuesday.

He was glad for more notice but said he and his family are planning to expect the unexpected for the rest of the week.

“We’re actually now coordinating with with friends who are neighbors on who’s going to take kids to school and bring them home from school,” Plummer said.

Other districts

Other districts are experiencing bus driver shortages as well. The Hutto Independent School District canceled all of its regular bus routes due to staffing shortages brought on by COVID-19.

Lockhart Independent School District told KXAN it had to close two routes starting Tuesday due to bus driver shortages. They had already closed three others and have gone from 33 drivers to five.

Austin Independent School District told KXAN it has all its bus routes covered but said 479 teachers were absent Monday. That’s up from last week.

Zafar Choudhury said in some cases, his family has experienced that impact.

“We’re also seeing extracurricular activities, field trips, sports events and other things kind of curtailed as well due to the staffing shortage,” he said.

He has two kids in AISD and said they are always worrying about the next pandemic impact.

“A few days ago, my son had a bit of a scare when one of his friends tested positive for the COVID, and they had to disinfect the school,” Choudhury said.

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