ELK GROVE (CBS13) – The wheels on buses from Elk Grove Unified School District are going round and round — picking up some students from schools but not all of them.
It’s something parents in other parts of the Greater Sacramento region are seeing too. It’s another tough turn for Sylvia Espinoza to navigate with her daughter, a student in the Manteca Unified School District, in going back to in-person learning during the pandemic.READ MORE: Gov. Gavin Newsom Says California’s COVID-19 Mask Mandate To End After June 15
“My husband had to switch working at night so he can pick my daughter up from school. And now I’m having to come into work late an hour every Tuesday and Thursday because my daughter has to go to school,” Espinoza said.
Some Manteca Unified parents are demanding that the bus services be put back online as kids move back into the classrooms. Some even held a protest on Tuesday afternoon expressing how not having the buses pick up and drop off general education students is impacting their families.
Some fear what not having the bus could mean for their child’s education moving forward.
“What if they don’t show up to school for transportation reasons and they miss out on that specific test?” said Leticia Zungia, a Manteca Unified parent. “And I’m speaking for my own child. He is a junior and I love to see him graduate with his class.”
Elk Grove Unified and Manteca Unified told CBS13 that, at this time, special education, homeless, and foster students are being picked up by buses in their districts.READ MORE: Stockton Police Chief Praises Hero Neighbor Who Saved Little Boy During Deadly Shooting
The districts told CBS13 part of the issue is due to capacity and physical or social distancing.
“Right now, you’re looking at zig-zag patterns, one student per seat on the bus roughly. And there are only so many seats on a bus. Unfortunately, we can’t add seats,” said Elk Grove Unified School District spokesperson Xanthi Soriano. “So, until we receive guidance that changes that capacity number then that’s when we can start looking at incorporate general education students.”
Both districts say they are looking to recruit and hire more bus drivers to handle more routes once more students can be on the buses. These districts want to be able to bus more students back to and from school.
Some are hoping the stop sign for their kids getting on board happens sooner rather than later.
“We need somebody to guide us. We need somebody to tell us what we need to do. We need somebody who can help us with this problem because our kids are our future,” Espinoza said.MORE NEWS: Kids 12-15 In California Can Sign Up For COVID-19 Vaccination Starting Thursday Morning
Elk Grove Unified told CBS13 that hiring more bus drivers has historically has been a challenge for the district.