How are our bus drivers really doing?

Jon Hani, Staff Writer

Being a bus driver is a very important job and we all appreciate the work that school bus drivers do for our community, but unfortunately, they too were greatly affected by COVID-19. Bus drivers have had a rough time knowing what is going on with their jobs, with limited information being released they have no idea what will happen to their income and how they will take care of their family. 

“I was concerned with the effects of the virus because we were uncertain with what was happening and after being put on furlough I was concerned with my income and how it would affect my livelihood,” District 158 bus driver Andrea Schlosser said. 

According to Andrea, due to the mystery of what was happening in the district, she and other drivers were concerned and unable to determine what to do about the situation they have been put in. But the problem does not stop there, because even as bus drivers are returning to their jobs, the uncertainty still exists, not knowing what the district will decide to do. 

The bus drivers that have been working as the district brought back preschool through fifth grade have not been having an easy time either. Because of hybrid and remote learning, the normal bus routes have been very difficult to manage. As well as the rigorous safety precautions are taken to protect the health of the student taking the bus. 

“It’s been difficult and strange to coordinate our normal bus routes with the changes in hybrid and remote learning. It’s been strenuous feeling exposed to the virus and having to take additional steps to keep the busses clean to protect the safety of the student as well as myself and having to keep the masks on throughout the day,” bus driver Cathy Oddo says. 

Bus drivers really do care about the students that they drive to school every day so the mental stress of worrying about the students’ safety along with their own, while also coordinating their work with the uncertainty of what’s will happen to their jobs which is how they take care of their family has been very hard to deal with. 

The only thing really is the day to day uncertainty for me. I used to love driving the kiddos to and from school but now I am extremely stressed making sure they have a mask on, sitting 1 to a seat, making sure they keep their distance from each other which is impossible on a bus, wiping down seats, windows, etc after every route! Maybe the biggest thing for me is if someone has contracted Covid on my route will I be notified? That is the biggest thing for me. The most important thing!!” bus driver for district 158, Lisa Boland, said. 

Even throughout this hardship, our awesome bus drivers have been doing great and perservering.