Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday activated up to 250 National Guard troops to help with school transportation at the start of the academic year, according to a statement from his office.
On Tuesday, 90 of the Guard personnel will begin training to assist with school transportation services to address staffing shortages in certain school districts across the state, the statement reads.
“The safe and reliable transportation to school each day is critical to our children’s safety and education,” the governor said in a tweet.
The statement said the personnel will train to drive 7D vehicles, vans that can carry up to 10 passengers.
“As with any school transportation worker, all activated Guard personnel will complete vehicle training to ensure the safety of children and families,” the governor’s office statement says. “Drivers will meet all statutory requirements for 7D drivers. Throughout the mission, the Guard will comply with all health and safety measures.”
The first four school districts are in the cities of Chelsea, Lawrence, Lowell and Lynn.
Districts across the nation have seen higher than normal shortages of bus drivers. Some have offered signing bonuses for new drivers, some have paid parents to drive buses, and at least one has said buses won’t be available for all students each week.
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