A 12-year-old boy in a Colorado school district with a massive bus driver shortage decided to kayak to school

Harry Cabluck/AP
Bus drivers are a critical resource for students in many school districts.

According to Summit Daily, a Colorado boy used kayaking to get to school.

The reason he chose to travel by kayak was partly because he enjoys "new adventures," as he explained to the paper.

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Bus drivers are a critical part of school transportation in the United States.

One middle schooler in central Colorado who was facing a severe shortage of teachers and staff used a unique approach to solve the problem. According to Summit Daily, Josh Smith, 12, took a kayak to school instead of riding the bus.

The kayak was a gift from a middle schooler, and the student decided to use it to get to school on Sept 8.

Summit Daily's Smith stated that she is always open to new adventures and that she's always trying to remember cool things. "I haven’t used my kayak much this summer so I thought it was pretty warm weather and I should kayak tomorrow to school so that I can tell everyone."

The journey began at 7 a.m. and was captured with a GoPro. Jason, Jason's father, said that the temperature was 34F.

Josh stopped at a small island on the way. He arrived at class late because his life jacket was still on. The trip took about 35-40 minutes.

Josh stated to the newspaper that he would like to kayak to school once again. His father also supports this idea in warmer weather.

He was out there by himself. Summit Daily was told by the boy's father that he wasn't overcome with fear. "I want someone to be rewarded for daring to take risks and getting out of their comfort zone, especially at the age of 12.

Andrea Meyer-Pemble is the transportation manager at Summit School District. She told Insider that there are currently 11 bus drivers in the district and five more needed to make it fully staffed. The driver shortage has led to the district operating only 11 school bus routes this school year, as opposed to 18 before the pandemic.

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She said that they now cover a wider area than before with the same bus capacity. "We are spreading our drivers pretty thin trying not to serve the same number of communities with a greater area to cover and more students riding on the bus."

To determine who gets a seat on the school bus, middle school students from the district, such as Josh, were entered in a lottery.

Meyer-Pemble stated that there were more applicants than available space on the buses.

There are 66 students waiting for a bus in a particular area and 78 on the waitlist. She says that other buses have shorter waitlists and can accommodate all who request a seat.

Many school districts around the country have come up with innovative ways to deal with the shortage of bus drivers.

Chicago parents were awarded $1,000 stipends to use public transport or Uber or Lyft to get their children to school within the first two weeks. Governor. Kathy Hochul instructed state agencies to contact more than 550,000 residents with commercial driver's licenses in order to determine if they are interested in becoming school bus drivers. Massachusetts Governor. Charlie Baker activated 250 National Guard soldiers to drive students to school. To avoid the need to cancel a field trip, one charter school in Boston used a party bus equipped with a stripper pole.

To attract more staff, many schools offer incentives such as bonuses for hiring, such as bus drivers and teachers.

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