100+ bus routes canceled Friday with more than 150 drivers absent, Wake County school officials say

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Wake County school officials said that there were more than 150 bus drivers absent Thursday and Friday.

More than 100 bus routes were canceled Friday morning, a school spokeswoman said in a news release Friday afternoon.

An alert was sent out by Wake County Public School System earlier Friday about a “severe driver shortage.”

The driver shortage is being “caused primarily by the impacts of COVID-19,” the news release said.

“Due to the unpredictable nature of pandemics, and the increased infections caused by the omicron variant, we do not know how much longer service will be disrupted,” the news release said.

School officials said that families should check the status online of bus routes “daily,” starting Monday morning.

This is not the first time in recent months that the district has dealt with severe bus driver shortages.

Protests over working conditions and wages led to bus driver “sick-outs” last year in late October and early November.

The Wake County school board approved one time bonuses of $1,250 for all full-time staff members, increased the salary supplement for teachers and other certified staff by 1 percent, and raised minimum pay for support staff to $13 an hour

“We deeply regret the disruption this has caused to families,” the news release said Friday afternoon.

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