A Kentucky principal is receiving national recognition for becoming a school bus driver after two of her bus drivers contracted COVID-19.
Janet Throgmorton, principal of Fancy Farm Elementary School in western Kentucky, recently got her commercial driver’s license (CDL) so she could continue to provide transportation for students after both of her bus drivers got COVID, including one who has been on a ventilator for 38 days, NBC News reports.
“My school district [Graves County Schools] does a great job helping drivers obtain their CDL,” Throgmorton told School Bus Fleet. “From the written permit test through the pre-trip inspection and driving test, they offer classes, study guides, and websites to assist along the way.”
While Throgmorton said she was most intimidated by the permit test, she added that actually driving a school bus was not as difficult since she has driven farm equipment most of her life.
On Monday, students at Fancy Farm Elementary School returned to in-person learning, according to a post on the school’s Facebook page. The school previously held in-person learning for 10 weeks in the fall before switching to virtual learning in November, according to NBC News.
Even when Throgmorton wasn't behind the wheel of the yellow bus during virtual learning, she told NBC News that she would sometimes pick up students and then take them to school where they could “return to a somewhat familiar location and have stable internet and in-person support, all within capacity guidelines.” She also told the news source that she would sometimes stop by the local McDonalds to pick up treats for students.
“Bus drivers are a vital part of my staff in that they not only deliver our students to and from school, but also have the opportunity to monitor things from the home as they make their stops each day,” Throgmorton told SBF. “In recent years substitute bus drivers have become hard to find for all school districts. I knew not only could I drive field trips for my school to save on instructional funds, but I could also fill a gap and help our district ensure that kids have a reliable way to school.”