Students kayak to school due to shortage of school bus drivers

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The United States is grappling with a nationwide shortage of school bus drivers, which has prompted the need for creative solutions. A college student in Colorado’s Summit School District has concocted his own plan for getting to school.

In early September, Josh Smith decided to use a kayak he received for his birthday a few years ago as a means of transportation to school.

“At the start of the year, we didn’t know if Josh was going to get a seat on the bus,” his father Jason Smith says KDVR, a local affiliate station of Fox News.

The station reported that Josh lives about 5 miles from the school, but the shortest path goes directly through a reservoir.

“The easy answer would have been no, let me drive you to school, if you can’t get on the bus we’ll get you to school with no problem,” Jason told KDVR. “But I have a 12 year old who wants to be adventurous, wants to do something that none of his buddies would do, and how do I say no to that?”

Jason said News week that Josh got started early on that frosty morning. He arrived in class a few minutes late.

A middle school student, Josh Smith, kayaked to school when it was not clear if he had a seat on the school bus due to the shortage of school bus drivers. Smith made the crossing of the reservoir a handful of other times for fun.
Photo courtesy of Jason Smith

“He felt really accomplished,” Jason said. “We could have driven him, but he wanted to do something different and unique.”

He went on to explain that Josh has an “adventurous spirit” and he didn’t want him to lose it. As Josh ventured through the reservoir in his kayak, Jason said he was watching him and followed him to school. He said when he saw Josh’s kayak on the beach near the school, he felt relieved.

It was a physically demanding trip, and Jason said that although the morning started out cold, Josh did sweat. Her backpack and being fully dressed for school made the trip a little more difficult.

Although it was a difficult trip, Jason said News week that Josh is comfortable in and on the water. Josh is a competitive swimmer and holds a Boy Scout Water Safety Merit Badge.

Since his first kayaking trip, Jason said Josh had a seat on the bus, but that didn’t stop him paddling through the reservoir to school a handful of other times. He said he hopes to take one last kayaking trip to round off the season before the cold sets in for good.

Although his kayak is in storage until the weather warms up, Jason said Josh has yet to complete his adventures at school. He said Josh plans to Nordic ski through the reservoir once it freezes.

Jason said he was nervous to see Josh make the trip to school at first, but said he was proud of himself for making the trip.

As a father, you want to protect your child. But he has an adventurous spirit, “Jason said. News week. “Some kids will talk about doing something cool and it doesn’t go any further, but [Josh] don’t let go. “


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