Beaufort County Schools recover from staffing shortages
BEAUFORT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - An Eastern Carolina School district has bounced back after a bus driver shortage caused problems during the previous school year.
According to school district leaders, the COVID-19 omicron variant surge in early 2022 played a huge role in the bus driver shortage for Beaufort County Schools.
Beaufort County Schools bus driver, Calvin Woolard, spent his Friday preparing for the routes he’ll be taking when students return to the classroom Monday. It’s a task that was difficult during the spring semester due to the staff shortage.
“Myself and another bus driver had to split a bus between the two of us,” Woolard said.
The shortage not only affected bus drivers but also teachers like Bath Elementary teacher Melonie Alligood.
“In February things got a little bit crazy,” Alligood said. “There were several days when we would call parents to let them know that they might be a few minutes late. At some schools, some students had to wait until the buses got back until they could do the next route.”
Thankfully, through recruiting during the spring semester and summer break, Bath Elementary Principal Charles Clark reports many of the vacant spots have finally been filled. Only two vacant teacher spots remain.
“Since February we’ve filled about 5 positions here at Bath Elementary School and about 50 across the county,” Charles said. “Bus drivers, teachers, teacher assistances, administration, everything.”
According to a survey taken by 98 out of 115 school districts, there are still more than 11,000 vacancies in North Carolina schools.
Beaufort County Schools will welcome students back to the classroom on Monday.
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