By: KDKA-TV News Staff
HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA) — Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration laid out plans Thursday aimed at addressing the problems school districts across the Commonwealth are facing due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.READ MORE: All Northbound I-279 Lanes Closed After Reported Vehicle Fire
Administration officials say the goal is to keep students healthy and safe while tackling a host of issues, including the bus driver shortage.
PennDOT is currently reaching out to approximately 375,000 commercially-licensed drivers, hoping to recruit them as school bus drivers.
PennDOT says they are also “temporarily expanding their days of operation to offer CDL skills testing at 23 locations throughout the state to include Mondays for four weeks beginning Oct. 18. The additional day will make the process more convenient for potential drivers to complete the process faster.”
It’s encouraging any adults who is looking for work and things they would like to drive a school bus to apply.
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Today DOH, @PADeptofEd and @PennDOTNews discussed the state’s strategy to address a shortage of school bus drivers, and provided updates on the anticipated rollout of the vaccine for those age 5-11, and COVID testing in schools. Read more: https://t.co/96BUoGdYdf pic.twitter.com/foCq5RVcqr
— PA Department of Health (@PAHealthDept) September 30, 2021
“Our schools and students are resilient, and under the extraordinary circumstances created by the pandemic, this has been a good start to the school year,” Pennsylvania Education Secretary Dr. Noe Ortega said.
Anyone interested in becoming a school bus driver, can start the process by visiting PennDOT’s website at this link.
The Wolf administration is also planning for handing out COVID-19 vaccines for kids ages 5 and up. They are encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated so kids can stay in school and learn in person.
Acting state Secretary of Health Alison Beam says she is encouraging school districts across Pennsylvania to contact local vaccine providers to schedule on-site vaccination clinics now. She says once the FDA and CDC finish their review and approval process, that will “help make it as convenient as possible” to get the vaccine out to that age group.MORE NEWS: 6 Tornadoes Tear Through Western Pennsylvania
State health and education officials say they also want more schools to take advantage of a federally-funded program which provides COVID-19 testing in schools.