This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Guilford County Schools students who attend high schools in Greensboro and High Point will have to ride city buses starting Monday.

GCS Superintendent Sharon Contreras announced in a joint press conference on Friday evening via Zoom that the school district had worked out the arrangement with Greensboro Transit and High Point Transit to provide free service to those students.

The service will begin Monday and will continue for at least two weeks. Students will be required to wear masks.

Contreras said yellow buses will continue to pick up and drop off students for elementary and middle schools and for high schools in the county where there are no city buses.

She said parents will receive information about how to access bus routes, and she encouraged any parents who could to drive their children to school to so.

She said the affected high schools in High Point and Greensboro include High Point Central, Andrews High School, The Kearns Academy in High Point, Dudley, Grimsley, Page, Smith high schools in Greensboro, The Academy At Smith, the middle colleges at GTCC-High Point, GTCC-Greensboro, UNC-Greensboro, Bennett and NC A&T, The STEM Early College at NC A&T, The Early College at Guilford and Weaver Academy.

GCS, like most school districts, is challenged to fill its bus routes with available drivers, and that situation has been exacerbated by absences caused by the surging omicron variant of the novel coronavirus.

That shortage required GCS to delay middle school starts by an hour and high schools and middle colleges by 90 minutes. Parents were able to drop off students at their regular times with teachers in the classrooms.

‘We saw first hand this morning how rising COVID-19 cases in our community could affect getting students to school in a timely manner,” Contreras said.

She said absences and ongoing vacancies left about a third of the bus routes without available drivers.

All school districts across the Triad reported openings for drivers and other vacancies created by the effects of COVID-19. Substitute teachers also are a need.

In Wake County, parents of thousands of students were required to drop them at schools because of an insufficient number of bus drivers.