As you may have heard or seen in the news, MMSD has been working diligently to problem-solve around a nationwide bus driver shortage for several weeks. This crisis is an issue impacting schools in Wisconsin and across the country. School districts have been forced to cancel bus routes, shift schedules, and in some states, close in-person learning altogether. Although we are excited to be able to continue learning in-person five days per week, the driver shortage has put us in an unfortunate situation where an adjustment to school start times for many of our schools is necessary.
Most recently, as the direct impacts of the driver shortage became more clear, our team then shifted focus on strategizing a plan we believe will have the least impact on schools, while continuing to provide safe transportation services and support to all of our families. We understand this situation is challenging for many, however it represents our best thinking in solving an extremely complex puzzle.
In short, many MMSD schools will have a change to their school day start and end times, with some schools being impacted more than others. It is important to know, this change to start times is only temporary, and we are continuing to aggressively recruit drivers (MMSD Drive for Us). Our goal is to secure enough bus drivers and to make a shift back to the intended schedules after the first semester.
We also recognize families most impacted by this change may have childcare concerns as a result of this shift, and we are prioritizing support for these families. Therefore, the district is currently working with community groups to provide in-school extended day programming options both before and after school for those affected. We will be sharing details about these options with you as soon as possible.
We have posted the revised start and end times for all schools on our website. Here you can also find bus routes and schedules. Please make sure to reference this information before the start of school.
The COVID-19 pandemic has indeed provided many challenges. By Leaning Forward Together, we will continue to be flexible, supportive, and focused on making the 2021-2022 school year the best it can possibly be for all of our students. If you have any questions, please reach out to your school principal or use the Let’s Talk feature on the MMSD website.
Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.