COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Reynoldsburg City Schools is trying to recoup its bus driver supply after a shortage has left some students to learn remotely.
On Oct. 19, the district implemented an indefinite remote learning rotation for students at some of its schools because at least 13 of its 51 bus routes lacked a driver, according to interim superintendent Dr. Jocelyn Cosgrave. Since her appointment to the role three weeks ago, Cosgrave said on Friday that she has been working to get students back in the classroom.
“We didn’t make that choice because it was the easy choice — we made it because it’s our current only choice,” Cosgrave said.
Under the rotation, students at the district’s six elementary schools and at some of its middle and high schools receive online instruction one day a week to allow bus drivers to transport the maximum number of students to school, Cosgrave said.
On Friday, Summit Elementary and three other schools were assigned to the remote learning rotation. Cosgrave said the district is considering 30 applicants and has made progress on hiring leadership.
“We’ve hired two of the three leadership positions in the transportation department, and we’ve also hired a consultant who’s with us for the next month to really help us tear apart our routes and see what we can do more efficiently,” she said.
The district hopes to hire eight to 10 full-time bus drivers to add on to its 47-member fleet, Cosgrave said. Seven drivers are out for long-term absences.
“Trying to prioritize our applications with those we can get immediately in, like starting next week, and then we’ll go through the rest of the applicants and start their training, which could take a few months,” she said.
Cosgrave asked the district’s families for patience as it tries to build a fully-staffed bus team.
“I wish I had better timeline in how long this might take us, but I also want to make sure whatever system that we build is one that can sustain even if we have future shortages because we know this is happening nationwide.”
As the district continues it search for a permanent superintendent, Cosgrave — the third person to take on the role this year — said owes it to Reynoldsburg students to help lead them through another challenge.
“I know we’re going to get through together,” she said. “I’m very humbled and honored to serve the district in this way, and I’ve always been here to serve the students staff and will continue to do that.”
For more information about the district’s remote learning rotation, visit its website.