Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) on Monday activated 250 National Guard personnel to provide support for school transportation due to staffing shortages in local communities.
According to Baker's office, the Guard members will act as drivers for certain districts experiencing staffing shortages. They will drive 7D vehicles — for school pupil transport — which require two hours of training and for the driver to meet certain criteria to be certified to operate.
"As with any school transportation worker, all activated Guard personnel will complete vehicle training to ensure the safety of children and families. Drivers will meet all statutory requirements for 7D drivers. Throughout the mission, the Guard will comply with all health and safety measures," the press release from his office read.
Beginning on Tuesday, 90 Guard members will prepare to begin service in the Massachusetts cities of Chelsea, Lawrence, Lowell, and Lynn.
It is unclear how long the Guard members will be assisting communities as school bus drivers.
“Once it became pretty clear that there were going to be some communities shorthanded — it wasn’t going to be a vehicle issue, it was going to be people with CDLs — we started talking to the Guard,” Baker said on Monday, WBZ-TV reported.
"There are a bunch of communities who have said they’re interested in this and we’re glad to be able to help because it’s important,” he added.
The U.S. is currently facing an immense labor shortage, with school districts across the country having to start the academic year without enough bus drivers to transport students to school on time.
A school district in Delaware resorted to offering parents $700 to drive their children to school to unburden its school bus system.