JCPS bus drivers continue working for school district during pandemic

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Jefferson County Public Schools bus drivers are staying busy at work even though they're not driving students to and from school during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

John Stovall, president of Teamsters Local 783 Union, said many school buildings didn't get a full cleaning when students were abruptly sent home at the beginning of the pandemic last spring. JCPS students still haven't returned to in-person instruction, and now, many bus drivers are deep-cleaning these buildings while they're empty. 

"They are working for the money," Stovall said. "They're not getting anything for free. They're actually providing a service for a district and the school they're working in."

Stovall said other bus drivers are helping with grounds work and cutting grass. Some, he said, are working as security in bus lots because of vandalism. Other drivers have been helping deliver Google Chromebooks. 

"All positions, for the most part, were volunteer and let people decide what to do," Stovall said. 

He said he knows these drivers would rather be driving their buses, but under the current circumstances, he's trying to do what he can to make sure they're still able to provide for themselves and their families.

"We're going to do everything we can do make sure you have a job and you're working," Stovall said. "We're going through something most of us in our lifetimes have never been through."

When asked if these various jobs throughout the district would be sustainable for bus drivers long-term, Stovall said he's hopeful that many of these various jobs can be sustainable long-term.

"We're certainly going to look for every avenue we can to keep them working," he said.

It's unclear when JCPS students will return to the classroom. 

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