The Jamestown School Board has approved increasing substitute bus driver pay.
Effective August 30, the rates of pay will now be $19 a hour for a regular substitute and $21 an hour for a retired substitute.
School Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker said having enough bus drivers has been a challenge, “Bus drivers can be of any age of course. But they tend to be more retired folks, folks who are in their second career, and they were over the past two years at a higher risk for complications of COVID. So, sitting in a bus with whether it’s 12 kids or 50 kids is a higher risk than not doing that. So there were challenges there. With COVID easing, we’ve been fortunate to maintain the level of bus drivers that we’ve needed.”
Whitaker said the job market has been tight with the COVID Pandemic adding another layer of challenges last year and the year before, “We had a mandatory quarantine period. So, if you had potential symptoms or thought you might have been sick, you’re out for five days or two weeks depending on the time frame for when that happened. So, that drove up the need for substitute teachers significantly. Even if you wanted to come back to work, you couldn’t. You weren’t allowed to. So, we had a dearth of substitutes last year as did all districts. And we really focused on beefing that up this year.”
Whitaker said he believes statistic show that more teachers have retired over the last two years than what is traditional, “And I don’t think we’re different from the standard trend across the country in that. However, we’ve been fortunate in being able to hire teachers back into those positions, so we have found qualified personnel.”
Whitaker added that school districts are still waiting to see what New York State’s guidance will be for staff who test positive or are symptomatic for COVID-19.
The revised recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ease social distancing requirements and no longer encourage Americans to quarantine if they come into close contact with an infected person.
According to the CDC, regardless of if you’ve been vaccinated, you should isolate from others when you have COVID-19. You should also isolate if you are ill or suspect that you have COVID-19 but are waiting on test results.