The school bus driver shortage afflicting most of Minnesota is so bad in Minneapolis that parents are being warned that their children may face delayed services or buses not turning up when classes start next month.
Parents with kids in Minnesota's second-largest school district have received a series of phone messages from MPS in recent weeks informing them of the shortage.
In the most recent call, MPS highlighted a "serious shortage of bus drivers" ahead of the return to school, and "as a result, families and students may experience late buses or buses not showing up when expected."
In order to reduce the strain on the school transportation system, MPS is asking parents who can take their kids to school themselves to do so, or carpool with friends and neighbors.
"We know this isn't for everyone but we want to encourage those who can, we also encourage all families to discuss with your students what to do if your bus is late or doesn't show," it continues.
In an effort to address the bus driver shortage, MPS is offering applicants a $3,000 signing bonus and will pay drivers while their train for their license.
The same issues are apparent across the Mississippi, where St. Paul Public Schools' bus contractors need between 40-60 drivers ahead of the new school year.
As a result, the Pioneer Press reports between five and seven schools could have their daily schedules moved up or back by 15-30 minutes, buses may make fewer stops – forcing older students to walk up to a mile from their stops – and students attending schools far from home could be placed on 15-person vans instead of yellow buses.
Irrespective of the wider school district's policy, face masks will be required to be worn by everyone on school buses this year, per federal COVID guidelines.