News |As suburban Chicago school children are trying to maintain as normal of a schedule as possible while schools are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing that is helping many families stay on track during these unpredictable times is the sight of a familiar face every morning: the school bus driver. With classrooms closed, school bus drivers and support workers have been pitching in in another way to help out. Several suburban school districts have utilized their school bus drivers to deliver meals to children who depend on meals provided by the school every day. In Community Consolidated School District 59 which covers Elk Grove Village and other communities, school cafeterias are still making lunches to be packed up and delivered by First Student school bus drivers to students learning from home. “These drivers are helping to make sure thousands of children are still served nutritious meals every day. Parents are excited their child gets to see their driver every day, and thankful the school is continuing to provide these kids nutritious meals,” said Rita Bomher, Business Agent for Teamsters Local 777. The bond between a school bus driver and the children they pick up is a special one. Bus drivers work hard to earn the trust of parents and students. They’re there to be the smiling face that greet them every morning and gets them to school safely and on time. “Once they’re on your bus, it’s like they’re your kids, too,” said Bomher, who is a former school bus driver herself and the mother of six children. “Some of these kids are just ecstatic to see their school bus driver every day. When the bus driver pulls up for his normal stop and opens the door, its just smiles everywhere.” Teamsters Local 777 represents hundreds of school bus drivers throughout Chicagoland and hundreds more school bus drivers are represented by other Teamster Locals throughout the state. Teamster leaders at Local 777 and other Locals helped ensure Illinois’ public school bus drivers would be compensated during school closures due to COVID-19 as long as the State continued to disburse funds to local school districts. Bomher said her drivers are happy to be still providing a service to families in their communities. “They’re doing it because they love their job and their community. We’re proud our Teamster members continue to provide some normalcy and serve their local communities through this national crisis, and are even more proud they’re doing it with a smile,” Bomher said.
March 25, 2020