ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (WFRV) — For Lamers Bus Lines, February just became a busy month.
Following a Monday night school board decision, Green Bay Area Public Schools students will return to class in-person starting March 1st.
Jenny Rogers, who works in School Bus Operations, says the company is preparing for that March 1st return.
“We have our router in house who is working on our school bus routes,” she said.
It’s not just routes that the company has to plan: they’re also looking to hire several drivers.
“A lot of hiring,” School Bus Safety Manager Larry Slaght said of the next three weeks, “trying to get drivers in. Statewide there’s a need for drivers for every company and every school district. We could hire 100 in the next three weeks and we’d still hire 100 more later on.”
According to Slaght, getting a new driver up to speed is a process.
“We get applications, working the applications, getting the people in for physicals, drug screenings, helping them get their permit, their training permit, and helping them get on the road as drivers and trying to get them on the road in about a month,” he said.
Rogers explained that this isn’t what the company is usually up to this time of year.
“We’re actually normally working on the next school year already coming up this time,” she told Local 5.
It’s the latest development over an unusual 11 months.
“A lot of us were off for three months or so because there wasn’t anything to do,” Slaght said. “As we started ramping up for the beginning of the school year, we didn’t know what was exactly going to happen, so we started ramping up in June, July, August, and then schools didn’t open.”
They’re finally getting back to some sort of normal, but things have changed.
“Many parents are worried about our steps in protecting their students,” Rogers said, “and we are sanitizing our buses after each route, we go through and spray the buses and make sure we’re ready for the next group of students.”