Drivers union concerned about ‘overloads’ on Duval school buses when hybrid learning ends

All high school students who chose brick-and-mortar learning set to resume format full-time Monday

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The planned end to Duval County Public Schools' hybrid learning model is scheduled for Monday with high school students, who have been spending only two days a week in brick-and-mortar classrooms, returning to the classrooms five days each week.

Rebecca Cardona, a representative for Teamsters Local 512, the union representing the school bus drivers in Duval County, said in a written statement Friday that the end of the hybrid learning model will obviously increase the ridership on the county’s school buses.

“While the companies and the union have agreed to PPE protections and social distancing protections for the drivers, additional passengers are going to create problems with potential overloads,” Cardona wrote. “Especially given the fact that in several, if not all GSA’S the carriers are experiencing severe driver shortages. The Union remains vigilant in monitoring and will not tolerate overloads creating unsafe conditions for our members.”

The inability to practice social distancing on school buses was the focus of numerous discussions among DCPS leadership during the construction of the district’s reopening plan, though little about transportation was enshrined in the document sent to FDOE.

News4Jax requested the number of high school students enrolled in the brick-and-mortar learning option. A spokesperson for the district responded saying the enrollment number was too fluid to provide Friday as it represented the deadline for families to enroll in Duval Homeroom for the second quarter of the academic year.

The spokesperson said that the district would be able to provide more accurate enrollment numbers on Monday.

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