Supporting Bus Drivers

Buses+at+Delta+Center+Elementary+await+pickup.+This+resulted+in+more+kids+who+rode+each+bus.

Marisol Macias

Buses at Delta Center Elementary await pickup. This resulted in more kids who rode each bus.

Marisol Macias

Supporting Bus Drivers 

The pandemic has caused an enormous shift in everyday life, especially for those active in the workforce. Even with looser Covid regulations, employees everywhere have had to adjust to a shift in work environments. 

  Staffing issues are one of the main effects of the pandemic and they have the greatest impact when it comes to today’s working conditions. Fewer people actively providing their services within a workplace creates greater demands for those who are. Workers may also have to give up some of their personal freedoms in order to take on more tasks. This can be seen in the GLHS Transportation Department. 

Ann Manning, bus driver and trainer for Grand Ledge High School, highlighted some of the changes drivers have experienced during the pandemic. “We have been short drivers this year, so our supervisor, dispatcher, and mechanics have been driving. Sometimes a student may get missed and we usually try to help each other if we are in the area,” Manning says. In this case, outside staff had to step in to carry out services. 

On top of this, the bus drivers undergo long working hours. “I arrive at the garage at 5:50 am until 9:10 am…we are back for our afternoon runs a little before 2:00 and [I’m] done with my route a little after 5 PM,” Manning adds. Time spent on the bus has extended not only for the drivers but also for the students who ride regularly, which can be stressful. 

Overall, those employed during a pandemic have experienced hassles when it comes to new workloads, masks, following guidelines, and adjusting to a different environment which may not function as smoothly during a pandemic. Wearing a mask is hard and it is very hard to enforce as the kids slide down in their seats and we can’t see them. And disinfecting more,” Manning notes on behalf of the drivers. 

Bus drivers especially have an important role when it comes to school staff. So many parents, students, and staff rely on them, and their job isn’t always pleasant. Because they provide so much support, the people of Grand Ledge should support them in return, along with other businesses in the area that may be struggling, both big and small.