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Maryland school district requests National Guard to fill in for sick bus drivers


(MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md.) — One of the largest school districts in Maryland is asking for help at the highest level to address its bus driver shortage brought on by the omicron surge.

Montgomery County Public Schools asked county officials to urge the state to deploy the National Guard and have them drive the district’s school buses.

On Wednesday, staffing shortages resulted in 40 to 80 routes being canceled, according to Montgomery County Public Schools spokesman Chris Cram.

The school system serves more than 162,000 students and includes 1,400 buses.

Cram told ABC News the state hasn’t responded to the school district’s request as of Wednesday evening.

Montgomery County’s request is among some of the extraordinary moves that school districts have made to fill staffing shortages caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday, the Kansas Board of Education voted on a measure to change the requirements for hiring substitute teachers.

Anyone over 18 who has a high school diploma and passes a background check can apply to be a substitute teacher. The new regulation will remain in effect until June, officials said.

School districts in Palo Alto, California, and Hays County, Texas, have also reached out to parents to help fill the shortages caused by sick substitute teachers and other staff.

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