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'I apologize and ask for your patience:' Duval Superintendent says district working to improve bus delays

Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene says transportation issues and delays are to be expected with the start of every school year.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Duval County Public Schools hosted a back-to-school news conference Monday afternoon following the first day of classes.

Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene explained that she considers the first day back a success despite transportation delays.

"We had a great first day," said Greene. "It was so exciting to... see parents at elementary not only come to the school, but to be able, for the first time in two years, walk their children to class."

Greene says transportation issues and delays are to be expected with the start of every school year as drivers learn their routes and students get adjusted to riding the bus.

Additionally, she says the district is training or currently in the hiring process of bringing on 100 additional drivers to help resolve some of the issues that school bus driver shortages have created.

"If you are one of the families whose first day of school was soured by transportation, I apologize and ask for your patience," said Greene. "Our team and our contractors are working hard to improve our bus services as quickly as possible."

RELATED: Multiple school bus routes in Duval County delayed by over an hour

Bus driver shortages aren't the only thing that DCPS is trying to navigate. Greene says there are over 400 teacher vacancies as well. Despite this, the district is doing everything in its power to cover vacant positions and fill roles with substitutes where needed. 

On the first day, Greene says 95% of substitute teacher requests were filled.

She said of the 133,000 students enrolled in DCPS, roughly 110,000 returned to classes Monday. Greene says learning begins on 'Day 1' and encourages parents to send their child to school during the first week.

You can track if your child's bus is running late at this website.

RELATED: Back to school Duval! Here's what you need to know about COVID-19 protocols, bus delays and more

RELATED: Duval Schools start the school year with nearly 400 vacant teacher positions

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