(Bloomberg) -- Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is activating the National Guard to help transport students to school amid a nationwide bus driver shortage.
The governor is sending 250 troops to assist with making sure students arrive to and from school in some Massachusetts’ cities and towns. “The safe and reliable transportation to school each day is critical to our children’s safety and education,” Baker said in a tweet on Monday.
Across the U.S., school districts don’t have enough bus drivers to ensure transportation for students, creating another hurdle for reopening schools as they face safety challenges amid the ongoing pandemic. The situation echoes the labor shortage facing both private companies and local governments struggling to staff vacant positions.
Some districts have been trying to lure in bus drivers by offering hefty sign-on bonuses as many drivers retired during the pandemic. Drivers are also leaving for private sector jobs, including driving for Amazon.com Inc. or becoming a commercial truck driver. Both provide higher wages and more flexible benefits. The median wage for school bus drivers was about $38,000 in May 2020 compared with $47,130 for a commercial truck driver, according to the Labor Department.
Read more: Kids Will Get Back on the School Bus — If Drivers Can Be Found
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.