Several Washington Township school bus routes canceled due to driver shortage

Parents were left scrambling Monday morning after a Gloucester County school district canceled several school bus routes due to a staffing shortage.
“This morning we got a text message around 7 a.m. that the buses were canceled,” says parent Jaclyn Wynne.
Wynne was one of many parents impacted when the Washington Township School District sent out the text after some kids were already at the bus stop.
“I had to take two kids that were standing at the bus stop that didn’t even know that the bus wasn’t coming, and we don’t know how half of them are getting home,” Wynne says.
The district says that the routes were canceled because several drivers called out. Monday was also the deadline for school employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including bus drivers. But it is unclear if this is why the drivers called out.
Some parents say that they support drivers standing up for their beliefs but wish that the district communicated better with the parents.
“I work part-time, so luckily I was able to [take my kids to school] today. But Wednesday and Thursday, now I’m stuck if something happens” Wynne says.
The Washington Township school superintendent sent a letter to parents on Friday explaining the ongoing driver shortage and stated that delays or cancellations may happen because of it.
The letter stated in part, "We realize this may be a huge inconvenience for our families, but we felt it best to inform you, in advance, of this possibility. We also would encourage you, if possible, to proactively coordinate carpools with your neighbors that could be put into action on short notice, as needed."
The district is in the process of recruiting drivers. But it was unclear when the shortage would be resolved. The parents also said that they were not told if the canceled routes will be running on Tuesday.
The Washington Township School District did not return requests for comment on this situation.