Will Virginia call in the National Guard to help bus drivers? The answer is no

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia National Guard said it will not be assisting school districts with their bus driver shortages.

A spokesperson with the National Guard said they have not received any requests to provide bus drivers or assist with hospitals in Virginia.

“With more than 2,000 Soldiers and Airmen either currently mobilized or preparing to deploy overseas, the Virginia National Guard’s primary focus is preparing units for the federal mission of providing a combat reserve for the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force,” the spokesperson said.

The Office of Gov. Ralph Northam said the governor had no plans to activate the National Guard for the shortage at this time.

Bus driver shortages have impacted districts across the country. The Massachusetts National Guard will be helping local communities with school transportation for the 2021-2022 school year after an order from Gov. Charlie Baker. As of Monday, Sept. 13, 90 Guard members began training to help serve local school districts.

Central Virginia is also facing bus driver shortages. Chesterfield County Public Schools started the year short 100 drivers. To help incentivize people to apply, the district has increased starting pay by $3 to $20.21 an hour and a signing bonus of $3,000.

Petersburg County Public Schools also announced it would be increasing bus driver pay to attract new employees. The new base salary for full-time drivers is $20.25 an hour, and the district is also offering a $500 sign-on bonus for new drivers and a bonus of up to $4,000 by the end of the year.

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