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Lee County school bus drivers stage 'sick-out' stranding east zone students

A Lee School District Bus
Julie Glenn
A Lee School District Bus

The Lee County School District faced yet another hiccup in transportation this week. Eighty three drivers called in sick Monday morning, leaving parents in a lurch.

Rumors were swirling Friday night and into the weekend that some drivers in the County’s east zone would call in sick Monday morning.

By Sunday night ten had called in sick, but when the first dispatchers came in on Monday morning, 83 had called in with a mysterious malady.

By Tuesday most had recovered. Only 13 called in sick—and that is fewer than average, according to schools district officials.

The Lee County School district began the school year unintentionally short staffed, and a walkout just days into the school year stretched remaining drivers to the limit. School board meetings’ public comment periods have been hours long with drivers and parents looking to increase pay and and improve safety measures. Some drivers were asking the district to mandate mask wearing in the close quarters of the school busses.

The School District is still actively looking for more drivers. Starting pay is $16.32, and the district is offering assistance for people needing commercial drivers licenses, health certifications and background checks.

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