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Rochester parents have about one week to change school bus pick-ups

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Rochester City School District families have about a week to alert their child’s school of any changes in address.

In a message to the community in four languages, the city school district says parents and caregivers have until next Friday to register for school and give an update on where students will need to catch their bus.

“We are encouraging families to make the change by August 10 so that we can make sure that, as our routes are being developed, we have all of the correct pick-up and drop-off locations for our students,” said RCSD spokesperson Marisol Lopez.

The routineness of the announcement marks a stark contrast from last year. Last year, a shortage of bus drivers delayed the start of school and left more than 300 students without transportation.

Last week at a school board meeting, Deputy Superintendent Carmine Peluso said the district is short about 13 bus drivers. Last school year that number was closer to 80.

It’s been a national trend. The 2021-22 school year saw bus driver shortages so great that some schools, including local schools, had to cancel classes some days. That was exacerbated by a surge in omicron COVID-19 cases mid-school year when a critical number of staff fell sick around the same time.

Some grassroots groups also stepped in to ease the transportation gap, including like Bus Stop Roc, which organized volunteer drivers to transport kids from 41 families in a week., but tThe group’s organizer, Cherriese Bufis, said they couldn’t fulfill every request: – around 100 of them on busier days.

Although the pandemic highlighted the problem, a 2016 survey by the National Association for Pupil Transportation shows that concerns over a bus driver shortage preceded the pandemic by years.

Noelle E. C. Evans is an education reporter/producer with a background in documentary filmmaking and education.