National Guard

National Guard to Help Take Kids to School in 5 More Mass. Communities

Gov. Charlie Baker activated up to 250 guard members to help deal with a national school bus driver shortage

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The Massachusetts National Guard will begin driving students to school in five more communities.

Brockton, Framingham, Holyoke, Quincy and Woburn asked and will receive the help, the Baker administration said Friday.

The National Guard was already approved to help out in Chelsea, Lawrence, Lowell and Lynn as Massachusetts school struggle to get kids into class on time amid a national school bus driver shortage.

Gov. Charlie Baker activated up to 250 guard members to help deal with the shortage.

This week, more than 190 members completed certification to drive the vehicles they'll be carrying the students in, known as 7D vehicles, which can carry up to 10 passengers, the Baker administration said. The training included screening, a review of health and safety measures as well as how to operate the vans.

Gov. Charlie Baker has asked members of the National Guard to drive kids to school amid a bus driver shortage. The TEN takes a look at how we got here and what this new school transporation system will look like.

Another 40 members of the guard will "provide "operational support for the mission," officials said.

Members of the National Guard will likely drive the buses until December, hopefully giving bus companies enough time to get and train more drivers.

Schools across the U.S. are offering hiring bonuses, providing the training needed to get a commercial driver’s license and increasing hourly pay to attract more drivers this year.

The bus driver shortage has complicated a school year already besieged by the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19, contentious disagreement over masking requirements, and the challenge of catching up on educational ground lost as the pandemic raged last year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

NBC/The Associated Press
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