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Bus driver shortage impacting the first day for SPPS students

Thursday is the first day for most SPPS students, and for some, their first day taking Metro Transit to class.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Students in St. Paul are grabbing their backpacks, notebooks and iPads, heading out the door for the first day of class. 

But SPPS is suffering a school bus driver shortage, like many other districts across the state and country, so the path to the classroom will look different than previous years. 

One of the major changes is that students from four additional high schools, Central High School, Como Park Senior High, Harding Senior High and 9-12 grade students at Washington Technology Magnet School will have to take a Metro Transit bus to school. Creative Arts Secondary, Johnson Senior High and Gordon Parks students will continue to take city buses as they have in previous years. 

To plan which bus to take, students and their families can use this Trip Planner to find out when their bus leaves and the route it will take. School officials recommend finding a bus that arrives 15 to 30 minutes before the start of classes. 

Free Go-To passes for students can be downloaded or printed here. These passes allow students to ride for free without paying the normal bus fares. Teachers will be on hand for the first few weeks of classes to make sure things go smoothly for students.

Find more information about riding Metro Transit here.

Another change this school year is start times for eight SPPS schools. This adjustment allows students to keep riding the bus and takes the transportation burden off their families. The following schools have new starting times until at least winter break: 

  • American Indian Magnet: 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Battle Creek Middle School: 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
  • Capitol Hill Magnet School: 9:45 a.m.-4:15 p.m.
  • Jie Ming Mandarin Immersion: 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • L’Etoile du Nord Elementary: 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (Lower Campus) / 8:40 a.m.-3:10 p.m. (Upper Campus)
  • Murray Middle School: 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
  • Washington Technology Magnet: 7:25 a.m.-2 p.m. (6-8 grade only)
  • Wellstone Elementary: 9:45 a.m.-4:15 p.m.

Families participating in Discovery Club, the before and after school care program for SPPS, will alert participating families about their changing schedules. 

Everyone older than 2 will also need to wear a mask to class this year, regardless of vaccination status. 

For more information about the St. Paul Public School system, you can check out their website here.

RELATED: St. Paul Public Schools to change schedules, use Metro Transit amid bus driver shortage

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