Principal Drives Bus to Take Students Back Home Safely Amid COVID-19 Staff Shortages

January 15, 2021 Updated: January 23, 2021

A Kentucky school principal has added to her resumé amid staff shortages owing to the pandemic. She has taken on the role of a bus driver to ensure her students get home from school safely.

Janet Throgmorton of Fancy Farm Elementary in Graves County, western Kentucky, is acting principal to 184 preschool through sixth-grade students. Two of the school’s bus drivers are battling COVID-19, reported Good Morning America (GMA).

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Principal Janet Throgmorton of Fancy Farm Elementary School in western Kentucky. (Courtesy of Janet Throgmorton)

Throgmorton told GMA that her students found their “Miss Janet’s” new role very funny at first.

“The first couple of times I drove it was really comical because I’m on the bus as the bell rings, as the kids are dismissed,” Throgmorton said.

“The kids are like, ‘Why are you driving the bus? Do you know how to drive the bus?’”

Throgmorton replied in the affirmative: She got her commercial driver’s license in 2018. She has even acted as a substitute bus driver for field trips during her 11-year career as a principal.

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Throgmorton driving the school bus. (Courtesy of Janet Throgmorton)

As a driver, Throgmorton enforces hand sanitizing, mask wearing, and social distancing. Students’ temperatures are also taken before boarding the bus.

The principal is not the only staff member to have broadened their remit amid the pandemic.

Throgmorton and other school staffers have pitched in to serve food in the cafeteria, take out the trash, and pick up students in their own cars if they miss the bus.

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(Courtesy of Janet Throgmorton)

During the remote-learning phase of the 2020 school year, Throgmorton, herself a mom, even made house calls to iron out the creases.

Throgmorton enlisted the help of local churches to make masks for the kids, and played “anonymous matchmaker” among families in need and families with plenty, to ensure that every returning student had sufficient supplies when the new semester began, reported NBC News.

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Throgmorton with her students (Courtesy of Janet Throgmorton)

Despite the increased workload, Throgmorton believes that recent months have helped nurture a deeper connection to the student body.

“You help where you need to help because that’s what you need to do,” Throgmorton told GMA.

“Our goal for the entire school year is to have kids in these buildings, because we definitely believe that’s where the best learning takes place.”

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