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'I know that they're trying their best'; JCPS parents reflect on first day of school as challenges loom ahead

Bus delays, security, masking; they're concerns that parents are working to navigate.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The bus driver shortage is just one challenge Jefferson County Public Schools is facing as they welcome students back.

When it comes to those drop-offs, JCPS officials told WHAS11 most of the students were home by 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, but with delays, some of them did not make it back until just before 7:30 p.m.

Bus delays, security, masking; they're concerns that parents are working to navigate.

"I want him to put his best foot forward," said Trenisha Bell.

Bell has a fifth grader at Bloom Elementary who she said she chooses to take to school herself.

"I can't imagine sitting there wondering when my son's bus is going to arrive. I know that they're trying their best," she said.

JCPS even introduced a bus route delay dashboard which shows some routes could see delays of over an hour.

Parents like Kevin Canterbury said with the pandemic, this is the first time his kids are getting to experience what school is really like at Bloom Elementary.

"We've been homeschooled for two years. And this is their first time in first and second grade. So we have to jump on this and make it a very big deal," Canterbury said.

When it comes to safety and security, Canterbury said to know these schools are supposed to have student resource officers on site helps bring peace of mind.

"For me personally, it really gives me some solace, some peace knowing that with our kids going for the first time ever, that they are looked after and protected," Canterbury said.

JCPS is also requiring masks for students for as long as Jefferson County is back in the red zone.    

Grandmother May Nevels said she wants her grandchildren to be safe at Bloom Elementary, but that it has been hard for her grandkids.

"They're vaccinated," she said. "And that was disheartening for them because they got vaccinated and had to start back wearing masks."

Even through the changes and struggles, parents said they just hope the district works hard to continue to make school a safe space for these students.

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