School bus drivers get good grades from school officials

Students head back to school on the bus. September 10, 2020. (BlackburnNews.com File Photo)

Local school bus drivers are getting praise from school board officials for such a smooth return to school this week amid a pandemic.

Education Director of the Lambton-Kent District School Board John Howitt said busing went very well and the joint school bus consortium called Chatham-Kent Lambton Administrative School Services (CLASS) is a perfect example of how cooperation should work between two school boards.

“We are thrilled that we have not had to cancel any of our routes and have maintained our drivers,” said Howitt.

Education Director of the St. Clair Catholic District School Board Deb Crawford said there have been no bus driver shortages or gaps in the area, unlike other jurisdictions in Ontario.

“We have been very successful in retaining our drivers. CLASS has worked very hard to develop those relationships and to work with our bus providers. So, things have been going along very well from our perspective,” Crawford said. “I would like to shout out to CLASS for the work that they’re doing on making sure the safety precautions are in place on those buses and adjusting the seating plans and everything to be more responsive as they get feedback as we start this first week with everyone back.”

Crawford said there are new health and safety protocols and last-minute adjustments because of the pandemic and she appreciates all of the work the bus company has done to keep the students safe.

Howitt said CLASS is always looking for extra drivers and if anyone is interested in being added to the reserve list, they should contact the company.

Both school boards added their staffs remain committed to supporting safe, welcoming and positive school environments for students.