ROANOKE, Va. – The Roanoke County School System is asking its current employees to deal with a shortage of bus drivers.
The county has about 145 drivers right now and needs another eight to 10 full-time drivers and 10 substitute drivers to be fully staffed, according to Roanoke County Public Schools community relations specialist Chuck Lionberger.
To help solve the problem, the school district is asking current employees to drive buses on a short-term basis.
Employees who are able to drive a bus are being asked to help fill in with morning and afternoon routes, or either one or the other.
Anyone driving a school bus would need to have a valid Commercial Driver's License or be about to get a CDL.
Lionberger said the district is aggressively recruiting new drivers to meet the demand.
One problem, Lionberger said, is the region's low unemployment rate, which makes it more difficult to find qualified drivers.
As a result, on some days drivers have had to double up on routes, which causes delays in getting students where they need to be.
Lionberger said the county started the school year with just enough drivers, but more are needed now to deal with driver absences.
He says the school system will likely see periodic delays when drivers call out sick, but the county is working hard to find a solution.