PENSACOLA, Fla (WKRG) — Schools all across the panhandle are welcoming back their students and today Escambia County Schools will be opening it’s doors.
However, the district has had to overcome some obstacles not only with COVID-19 guidelines but managing their bus driver shortage and the district is still trying to find drivers.
There were currently more than 100 bus driving positions opened at the end of July, which has been an issue that continued to get worse over the past 4 years.
The school district has come up with a new staggered bus driving schedule that would have some students seeing up to 35-minute pick-up schedule difference, all in order to accommodate their increasing number of students.
They are taking all the necessary cleaning protocols and following the same quarantine procedures as other nearby school districts.
The Pensacola Police Department also will be on heavy patrol around school zones. PIO for PPD Mike Wood tells WKRG although there have only had minimal problems, the department always puts out extra officers to ensure the safety of students.
Wood said, “We will be watching schools zones for several days… maybe several weeks to make sure everybody gets used to the children being out there again and the school busses being out there. And if we have complaints from citizens we will stay even longer.”
Wood also wants to remind people fines are doubled in school zones and to make sure you give yourself enough time to follow speed limits.
“We want them to leave early and not have any reason for them to be in a big hurry and just watch those speed limits,” said Wood. “That is the biggest thing I can convey at this point and the school busses… when that stop sign comes out you got to stop.”
Wood added and emphasized to talk to your kids this upcoming school year and report any alarming concerns.
“Nobody knows what’s going on in schools more than the kids that attend those schools. We want them to watch for things going on especially if someone was to bring a weapon to a school the administration needs to know about that sort of thing quickly, so we want the parents to touch on that with their children,” Wood told WKRG.
ECSD is also taking all the necessary cleaning protocols and following the same quarantine procedures as other nearby school districts.
For a full list of the pickup and drop off times for the bus routes, click here.