Sick-out puts the brakes on dozens of Charles Co. school bus routes

Many Charles County, Maryland, students are scrambling to get to school Friday, after many district school bus drivers took part in a planned sick-out.

Dozens of bus routes were canceled Friday morning as a result of the labor action, according to the Charles County Public Schools’ website.

For these routes, the school district asked parents to take their children to school. The school system said 62 of 280 bus routes were affected by the action.

The school said Charles County Public Schools transportation staff along with workers from many of the county’s contracted bus companies helped fill in the deficit, but that many routes still went without buses.

School system spokeswoman Shelley Mackey said no student will be penalized for getting to school late Friday.

Higher-than-average absences were reported in middle and high school students in Charles County Friday, and the school system attributed them to the bus route disruptions.

The school system said they anticipate some of the drivers who ran their regular route this morning to call out for dismissal, and asked parents to have a plan in place in case their child’s route was affected.

Bus drivers met with the school system on Wednesday to discuss wages and benefits.

While there was no resolution, the school system and contractors agreed to meet again on Nov. 17 to workout a plan.

CCPS superintendent Maria Navarro said the school system will continue to work with bus contractors, drivers and attendants to resolve their concerns.

“It is important for our students to continue in-person learning after a period of 18 months without direct classroom support. It is my hope that we can resolve the concerns so students are impacted by the disruption as little as possible,” Navarro said in a statement.

WTOP’s Zeke Hartner contributed to this report.

Luke Garrett

Luke Garrett is a D.C. native dedicated to journalism. He is a reporter and the creator, host and producer of the original WTOP podcast, “DMV Download.” The podcast debuted in 2022. On the show, Garrett takes a weekly look at the biggest stories and ideas in the D.C. region.

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