How Hawaii’s School Bus Woes Contribute To Student Absences…The problems seen at the beginning of the school year persist, with 30 school bus routes temporarily suspended last week

At Honokaa High and Intermediate, a rural school on the northern side of the Big Island, 60% of the school’s 630 students live in Waimea, which is 15 miles west along Highway 19.

That’s only a 20-minute drive away, but it might as well be on the other side of the island for many children. Dependent on the school bus to get to class, many students have been virtually stranded at home for long stretches of time because of a school bus driver shortage.

The problem began at the start of the school year in August and has shown no signs of improving amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The driver shortages, which are affecting schools statewide but especially rural areas of Hawaii island, have contributed to high student absentee rates, according to the state Department of Education.


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