PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — School is officially back in session for many districts across western Pennsylvania.
The days of sleeping in are over as students headed out to the bus stops this morning for the first day of classes, including in the Pittsburgh Public School District.
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But administrators in the district say there is a bus driver shortage in the area and they have worked out a new bus schedule to accommodate students.
Compared to last year, the number of available drivers in Pittsburgh dropped by 120.
“It’s a national shortage,” Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet said. “Not just Pittsburgh, not just Pennsylvania. One of the things we’re trying to do is find out why we don’t have bus drivers and see if we can support the companies we contract with to make sure they continue to have bus drivers.”
The bus schedules are being staggered and some routes being altered to allow extra time to get kids to their classes.
Banksville K-5, Roosevelt PreK-5 and Whittier K-5 will each start 20 minutes later at 8:30 a.m.
South Brook 6-8 will start 10 minutes later at 9:20 a.m.
Students at Schiller 6-8 in Troy Hill will start about two hours earlier at 7:36 a.m., and seventh and eighth-grade students at Pittsburgh CAPA downtown will ride the Port Authority buses.
Sixth graders at CAPA will still be on yellow school buses.
However, the Pittsburgh Public Schools chief operations officer said students and parents should expect that bus ride to be about an hour long.
Middle school students who attend Environmental Charter School, which Pittsburgh Public Schools transports to and from school, will also ride Port Authority buses.
The same goes for some Carrick high school students.
“We’ll constantly look at it on a daily basis,” Hamlet said. “Kids arriving and also kids going home to see how that impacts them to make sure things are going smoothly.”
Bus routes are not the only thing changing this school year.
Students and teachers are embracing new technology at Manchester Elementary School.
The school received eight new smart boards from Heinz Field and Rivers Casino.
The new technology supports the school’s recent purchase of two mobile smart boards and 64 laptops.
“The kids know what to do,” first-grade teacher at Manchester Elementary Elizabeth Graves said. “It’s going to keep them engaged, keep them ready to learn.”
Good luck and have a GREAT new school year! pic.twitter.com/wQDzUJCE5m
— Heinz Field (@heinzfield) August 26, 2019