News & Politics

Montgomery County Requests National Guard Help for School Bus Driver Shortage

Officials have also launched a statewide search for commercially licensed drivers.

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Officials in Montgomery County have asked the Maryland National Guard for help driving students to class, amid a covid-related shortage in school bus drivers, according to ABC7.

The county’s request for 200 bus drivers, which was made on January 6, comes as the spike in Covid cases linked to the Omicron variant has created fresh headaches for Maryland’s largest school system. In early January, some 90 bus routes were taken offline on account of the large number of drivers who were out sick with the virus. 

“We are trying to help [the county school system] to the maximum extent that we can,” Earl Stoddard, the assistant chief administrative officer for Montgomery County, told ABC7 on Tuesday. “Obviously, [commercially licensed drivers] were a problem before. [Commercially licensed] drivers with a background check, see if they can supervise students while they are on the bus is also a challenge but we are actively working on the problem with them.”

In addition to the requests to the National Guard, officials in Maryland have launched a state-wide effort to locate commercially licensed drivers who could operate the school busses. 

“This request is wider-reaching than just National Guard,” Ohene Gyapong, a Montgomery County spokesperson, told ABC7. “That said, many jurisdictions are facing similar challenges, so we are not sure we will get much support going this route; however, we are exhausting all options nonetheless.”

Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.