Prince George’s County Public Schools continues to suffer a “chronic” shortage of bus drivers, according to a letter to families Wednesday from school system CEO Monica Goldson.

In the letter, Goldson apologized for the bus driver shortage in PGCPS after the county made its return to in-person instruction last week. The situation in the county reflects not only the nationwide scarcity of bus drivers due to COVID-19, Goldson wrote, but the shortages that were pervasive throughout the school system even before the pandemic.

To handle the situation, some of the existing bus routes and driver assignments could be adjusted, Goldson wrote. This could lead to longer bus rides and an increased number of students on buses.

The school system is also encouraging parents and guardians to drive their students and carpool when possible. Additionally, middle and high school students can ride TheBus, a county bus service that offers 28 different routes for residents throughout the county. Middle and high school students can show their student ID to ride for free.

“I appreciate everyone who has shown patience, flexibility and stepped forward to transport children to school in light of our current challenges,” Goldson wrote.

[PGCPS community expresses mixed feelings with full in-person return to the classroom]

The PGCPS transportation team is continuing to hire and recruit full-time drivers, Goldson said in the letter. To incentivize the job, the school system is offering hourly pay ranging from $19.35 to $25.39, a “robust” benefits package and commercial driver’s license training. The school system is continuing to hold bus driver job fairs every two weeks, Goldson said in the letter. A virtual job fair was held Wednesday, and another one will be held Sept. 29.