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Concerns rise as bus delays and heat pose challenges on Duval County’s first day of school

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As the first day of school approaches on Monday, parents in the Duval County Public School district are voicing their concerns over bus delays and extreme heat.

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Nick Gibson spoke with several parents who feel blindsided by this news.

DCPS announced Sunday that students are expected to face bus delays as the new school year begins. An email from the district revealed that numerous routes will experience substantial delays due to a national shortage of school bus drivers.

Currently, the district is grappling with a shortage of over 130 drivers out of a total of 800 positions.

The district is advising parents to make alternative transportation plans for their children to ensure their timely arrival at school. Additionally, due to the anticipated lengthy delays, parents are urged to supervise their children while waiting for the bus.

Shenna Cercy, a parent with four children in Duval County schools, expressed concerns about the announcement as all her children rely on the bus.

“Then I have to work out means of my children getting back and forth to school. That means I have to call my employer up because I have to be to work at 7:30 a.m.,” Cercy shared.

RELATED: Action News Jax Back to School Homepage

The recent surge in high temperatures in Duval County is further adding to the difficulties these students face as they wait for the buses. To ensure student safety during the extreme heat, the district is also requesting parents to provide water for their children.

“My concern is kids getting on those buses being so exhausted from the day, being in the heat, in and out of heat,” Cercy emphasized.

This isn’t the first time that issues related to student transportation have arisen with Student Transportation of America, one of the bus companies serving DCPS. In January, Action News Jax reported on safety concerns and bus delays experienced by the company. Shenna Cercy is among those who have had enough of these recurring problems.

“They just need to buckle down and try to get people to even want to go out and do for the kids,” Shenna Cercy asserted.

DCPS has announced that any bus route that is expected to be more than 15 minutes late will be listed on their bus delay webpage HERE, aiming to keep parents and students informed about the ongoing delays.

As parents and students prepare for the first day of school, these challenges are casting a shadow over the otherwise exciting start of the academic year.

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