Bus Driver Shortages Lead to at Least Two Days of E-Learning for Pike Students

Call it a crisis, call it inconvenient, call it whatever you want, but it’s not over. For the past few months and even the years before that, parents of local school-aged children have heard about the shortage of bus drivers. Additionally, schools are suffering from a lack of on-campus staff, including teachers, custodial staff, classroom assistants, and others.

On Monday, September 27th, the Metropolitan School District of Pike Township closed their campus to students and called for students to log on to the e-learning platforms that so many of our children became familiar with over the past two school years.

At 1:30 pm on Monday, the township sent home an email informing families that Tuesday would also be an e-learning day, and the status for Wednesday was unknown.

MSD of Pike Township cited the driver shortage as well as “planned medical leave, and illness-related absences” as the reason for closing campus and moving to a digital learning platform. However, other sources are calling this a strike due to possible issues with payment for drivers.

No matter what the issues are, parents are hopeful that they can get their children back to school soon. Others are quick to remind us that many students rely on the federally funded school breakfast and lunch program, for their daily nutrition, and with school closed, it’s unlikely they’re getting the services they need.

How can you help? Check-in with your friends and neighbors and offer help with child care or sitting with students who are e-learning. You can also offer packed lunches to Pike students in your community. Additionally, most Central Indiana schools have open positions for bus drivers and school staff.

Here is a copy of the letter sent to parents and guardians;

“The MSD of Pike Township was unable to provide bus service for students today, September 27, 2021. With a shortage of drivers, planned medical leave, and illness related absences called in this morning, it was not possible to cover our bus routes.

Due to these medical leaves and illness related absences, we will be unable to provide in-person instruction tomorrow, Tuesday, September 28, 2021. Therefore, we will be having a remote learning day. Remote learning means that teachers will teach live following their regular schedule while students join via technology.

Live instruction via Zoom and Canvas will be provided on Tuesday, September 28th. If your child left their device at school and you do not have one at home, you may pick up your child’s Chromebook at school. Please reach out to your child’s school before the end of the school day today to make arrangements.
Student participation continues to be expected. Attendance will be based on students logging into Canvas and completing their assignments. Students not participating will be marked absent.
The Nathaniel Jones Early Learning Center will continue to remain open as usual.
Navigation Specialists are available to support parents who have questions regarding remote learning at 317-387-2517 or 317-387-2518.
Loving Care will not be available.
Your child’s school will provide information about the status of athletic and extracurricular activities.
An update regarding Wednesday, September 29, 2021, will be provided tomorrow prior to the end of the school day. We understand that this is a hardship for many families and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. As we navigate the various challenges presented by the pandemic and cold and flu season, our goal will remain to ensure that our students are provided with quality learning experiences as we prioritize the health and safety of our students, staff, and community.”

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