Teachers in Charles County, Maryland, schools will livestream a video feed of their classrooms starting Friday for students who are not able to attend class in person because of transportation issues brought on by the bus driver sickout that will be entering its fifth day.
The sickout began Friday, as bus drivers pressure county administrators for fair wages, benefits and changes to working conditions.
Charles County Public Schools Superintendent Maria V. Navarro said the livestream effort is temporary, while the school system navigates the sickout, and it is a way to try to keep children connected to their in-person learning environment.
Teachers will take attendance, post assignments online and share livestream links with parents in the school’s portal.
The livestream is specifically for students who ride buses to school on routes that have been canceled, and they have no backup transportation available, a Charles County Public Schools news release said.
Last Friday, the first day of the sickout, 74 buses did not run and 186 routes were canceled. On Monday, 60 buses did not run and 161 routes were canceled. Tuesday saw 47 buses not run and 140 routes canceled. And on Wednesday, 88 buses did not run and 239 routes were canceled.
“I continue to meet with our bus contractors to negotiate and listen,” Navarro said in a statement.
On Monday, the county’s Board of Education authorized Charles County schools to negotiate a 4% cost-of-living adjustment with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union. Navarro said this applies to bus drivers, attendants and contractors.