Sep 14, 2021 - Health

Massachusetts activates National Guard to help with school transportation

 School buses on a lot at Washington St. and Melnea Cass Blvd. August 29, 2019 in BOSTON, Massachusetts.

School buses on a lot at Washington St. and Melnea Cass Blvd. on Aug. 29, 2019 in Boston. Photo: Chris Christo/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) on Monday activated the state's National Guard to assist with school transportation.

Driving the news: Schools across the country are experiencing a shortage of bus drivers, which has worsened during the coronavirus pandemic. More than 80% of school districts reported having issued finding an adequate number of drivers.

State of play: Baker said in a press release that 250 guard personnel will become available for the task.

  • They will need to complete vehicle training "to ensure the safety of children and families."
  • Training is scheduled to start Tuesday, with 90 guard members being sent to help in the cities of Chelsea, Lawrence, Lowell and Lynn.
  • The guard members will operate vans known as "7D vehicles," which are smaller than regular school buses.

What they're saying: "The Guard has a proven track record of success supporting civilian authorities. Their frequent side-by-side training with state and local first responders makes them well-suited for a variety of missions," Baker said.

Of note: The governor said that the mission will not interfere with the National Guard's ability to respond to emergencies within the state.

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