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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.

Go deeper

18 hours ago - Health

Study: Gaps in data on Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders alarming amid COVID

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are one of the fastest-growing populations, yet data collection on the community at the federal and state levels remains "virtually nonexistent," according to a new study published in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law.

Why it matters: In 1997, the Office of Management and Budget mandated the disaggregation of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander data from the broader "Asian" category. Yet two decades later, over 30% of federal data sources fail to provide disaggregated NHPI data, a gap that's more pressing than ever due to the pandemic, researchers say.

13 hours ago - Health

Los Angeles County to require vaccination proof at indoor bars

A busy bar in Pasadena after reopening in June. Photo: Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Los Angeles County will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for entry to indoor drinking establishments including bars, nightclubs, wineries and breweries next month, officials announced Wednesday.

The big picture: Customers and employees in the nation's most populous county will have to show proof at such drinking venues that they've had at least one vaccine dose from Oct. 7 and both by Nov. 4. It's not mandatory at restaurants but is encouraged, per an L.A. County Public Health statement.

20 hours ago - Science

Moderna suggests booster shots, citing clinical data

A box of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Indonesia. Photo: Algi Febri Sugita/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Moderna vaccine's efficacy declines a year after it's administered, compared to protection seen in recently inoculated individuals, the vaccine maker announced Wednesday.

Driving the news: Moderna made its case for supporting booster shots, citing clinical trial data that demonstrate breakthrough infections are less common among participants approximately eight months after receiving the first dose compared to approximately 13 months.

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