Sports Affected by the School Bus Driver Shortage

Due to COVID-19 many bus drivers have quit.


Benjamin Thompson

This image shows the buses, that arrived early for picking up kids after school.

by Benjamin Thompson, Reporter

People are mainly missing sports events due to the bus driver shortage. COVID-19 has caused many bus drivers to quit their jobs, the few that remain could contract the disease themselves and have to stop working for multiple weeks at a time.

I think every sport has been affected in some way, usually the sports that leave early, like tennis matches at 3:30,” said Bill Baxter, the athletic director for Central Kitsap High School.

The school bus driver shortage is not limited to Central Kitsap High School, Baxter also spoke about if the other teams that our school was supposed to play against also didn’t have a bus the match would have to be canceled and rescheduled.

The problem is that all the districts are competing for these charter buses, and there’s some days we just can’t get them,” Baxter said when commenting on other forms of communication.

Being a school bus driver isn’t easy, Baxter said, you have to keep your cool through all sorts of situations with kids while still safely driving the bus.

“I think it’s a tough job,” Baxter said, “Driving around kids is not easy.”

Since it’s such a hard job, not many people want to fill those positions. Driving around with kids that are yelling and being generally chaotic is pretty rough.

“They’re offering incentives for drivers now, like extra $1,000-$3,000,” Baxter said. “But I think it’s going to be several years… to get back to where we were before, if we ever get back.”

Baxter also believes that most bus drivers would prefer to drive sports teams, but they’re simply not enough of them.

“I would say that our coaches keep our kids much more contained,” Baxter said.“Where on another school bus route, there’s no supervisor on there besides the bus driver, so they’re not only the driver, they’re the supervisor. Where on our outs with athletics, we have coaches that go with them and they’re required to be on the bus, and they have someone that helps supervise and make sure that the kids are behaving.”

Overall the transportation department has done the best job they can under the current situation, in the end when there are no drivers there is nothing that you can do, but reschedule.