Dinwiddie Schools dealing with bus driver shortage, delayed food delivery and no bottled water for students

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Trays of food at a school cafeteria. (KOIN)

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Dinwiddie County Public Schools is facing a number of operational challenges this school year like other divisions across the country.

In a social media post, the school system said they are facing a shortage of bus drivers, delayed food delivery and no water bottled for students.

“While this situation is not unique to our school system, we are aware of its impact on student transportation schedules and the inconvenience to our families,” the district said. They also encouraged parents to sign up for the Versatrans My Stop app to track bus locations in real-time.

Parents commenting on the district’s post voiced their concerns about the app, saying it doesn’t show active bus routes. Others simply said it doesn’t work.

Dinwiddie County Public Schools responded to parents in the comments saying, the app was piloted successfully at Dinwiddie Elementary School last spring.

“Like with most new initiatives, it wasn’t without a lot of trial and error which is what we are experiencing right now on a larger scale,” the school system said. While the problems are resolved, principals will continue to call parents to inform them of late busses in the morning and afternoon.

Dinwiddie Schools told 8News in an email that they are using social media and job fairs to attract new bus drivers. A new class of potential employees started the Commercial Driver’s Licence course on Tuesday.

The school system also informed parents that the lunch menu could be different this week because their weekly vendor food delivery is delayed. The delivery is scheduled for Oct. 6, however, delivery times could vary due to vendors dealing with shortages in their workforce.

“We are not facing a shortage of food, we just wanted parents to be aware that there could be unexpected changes in the menu should the delivery not arrive as expected,” Director of Innovation and Development Chuck Moss said.

Major supply chain issues have been causing problems for school lunch programs nationwide.

On Monday, 8News spoke with Virginia’s School Nutrition Program Director Sandy Curwood who said food manufacturers and distributors have been disrupted during the coronavirus pandemic.

Curwood said cafeteria staff are having to change menus last minute and slim down options.  She said schools aren’t getting their full food orders and they’re running out of certain items. They’re also coming up short on supplies like trays, utensils and condiments, according to Curwood. 

Dinwiddie Schools said they do not have bottled water for students at school. This is due to limited supply from vendors. Students are encouraged to take their own water bottles to school.

“Regardless of the availability of bottled water, we wanted to encourage students to bring their personal water bottles from home so they could continue to access our retrofitted water fountains at any time,” Moss said.

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