Sumner, Bonney Lake students head back to class amid bus driver shortage

BONNEY LAKE, Wash. — Students are heading back to class Tuesday amid a bus driver shortage in the Sumner-Bonney Lake School district.

Officials said currently, 40 permanent bus driver positions have been filled in the district, but 20 more positions remain open.

The bus drivers’ union said it appears there are three areas of concern for drivers: job security, continued safety concerns and the recent COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The union also said anyone who didn’t work during the pandemic last year likely either got another job or decided to retire.

Because of the shortage, the district said student pickup and drop-off times could be later, with the possibility of no bus transportation at all.

Parents are being warned that they need to have a backup plan to get their children to school.

Many families across Western Washington are being asked to opt in or out of bus service and perhaps coordinate a car pool on their own.

The problem is a nationwide issue .