Throughout Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin, we've noticed news stories recently where school districts are going to distance learning or needing to have parents transport kids to school due to a shortage of bus drivers.  Well, according to an e-mail that was just sent out to families in the Rochester, Minnesota area, it seems as if a shortage is looming in our community as well.

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Dear RPS Families:

Like many school districts across the state and nation, Rochester Public Schools faces a transportation challenge with a shortfall of drivers and school buses, which may impact your family in the future. At this time, we can successfully operate all of our bus and van routes for our students. However, as COVID-19 continues to cause illness in our community, we face a severe shortage of drivers, and unlike earlier this year, we have utilized all of our substitute drivers. As a result, we may need to alter van and bus route times, and you may experience delays in your van or bus’s pick-up and drop-off times.

The safety of our students and staff remains our top priority. We are aware conditions in the winter are sometimes less than ideal, and we do not want our students waiting at a bus stops beyond their scheduled times. Therefore, RPS will continue to utilize our Skylert message system with email, text, and/or calls to families regarding late vans and buses or alterations in van and bus times. The District may need to restructure some van and bus routes temporarily and we will provide as much advance notice as possible regarding a change in your child’s bus route.

Parents/Caregivers, we are asking for your help. If you are assigned a bus route but are not using the transportation service, please call or email our office so that we can remove you from the roster. This will help us clean up our ridership which will help with routing. To contact us, email us at transportation@rochesterschools.org or call us at (507) 328-4260.

Again, we can operate all of our van and bus routes as they are currently scheduled but anticipate alterations or delays in the future. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this difficult time.

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If you are looking for a job, here's how to apply to be a bus driver with First Student in Rochester, Minnesota

I've already heard from a few families that said their kids had delayed busses this past week due to driver shortages.  Although it is frustrating as a parent, the communication through Skyward on those late busses has been helpful and I appreciate the messages sent my way this past week when my kid was going to be later than normal.

If you'd like to put your name in and help kids and families out, apply to be a bus driver!  See what jobs are open here.

Funny little boy in blue winter clothes walks during a snowfall. Outdoors winter activities for kids.
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Got kids?  You MUST take them to this amazing ice castle in Minnesota!

Not sure if you do bucket lists but if you do, add this!  There are some gorgeous ice castles in Minnesota that are back open in 2022 and you really need to bundle the kids up and take them to see it.  Below are a few photos to show you how awesome it is and details on tickets.

Minnesota’s Breathtaking Frozen Attraction Is 1 of Only 6 In All of North America

The Ice Castles are returning to Minnesota in 2022. Your family will love exploring this frozen attraction which is located just north of St. Paul. The attraction has a new location this year. Read about that and learn about the COVID safety protocols below.

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