Bus delays, long drop-off lines frame first day of school in Chesterfield

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Posted at 12:47 PM, Aug 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-23 13:24:39-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Chesterfield County students returned to the classroom Monday, but not without some hurdles due to the shortage of bus drivers in the district.

“It’s going to be mayhem," explained Chesterfield mom, Joy Hickman.

Hickman's daughter Charlotte is starting third grade at Swift Creek Elementary School, and Hickman has opted to drive her daughter to school because she said the bus hasn't been reliable.

“That’s kind of always been a problem with Chesterfield County school buses," noted Hickman. "They are notorious for being late and dropping off late."

The district is short around 100 bus drivers, and Superintendent Merv Daugherty posted a video to Facebook last week asking parents to transport kids if they can.

"I totally understand with them being short staffed," Hickman explained. "What I don't think they are putting into consideration is what that’s going to do for the school drop-off lines."

CBS 6 drove by Swift Creek Elementary at 9:20 a.m., just five minutes before school was scheduled to start. The drop-off line stretched down Genito Road, as dozens of students waited to get out of their cars and into the school building.

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“We are just doing what we can to make sure she gets to school on time," said Chesterfield mom, Lindsay Garrison.

Garrison is also driving her daughter Eloise to school, but she knows not every parent has that luxury.

“It’s difficult, and people have to give up a lot in order to make it work for their families," she noted.

CBS 6 waited with a family at a Brandermill bus stop Monday morning to see what the wait time was like.

A family at the stop said the bus was supposed to arrive at 8:4`1 a.m. but it didn't show up until 9 a.m.

They also noted the Versatrans My Stop app, which is used by the district to track bus activity, showed the bus assigned to their children as not even running Monday.

Chesterfield County said parents who do opt for their child to ride the bus can expect delays, but should be able to use the Versatrans App to track their child's bus.

They also said drivers will continue to pick up and drop off at each stop despite the driver shortage because they know transporting students to school isn't an option for every family.

CBS 6 reached out to the district to get an update on the driver shortage and drop-off situation and is waiting to hear back.

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