"We’re just seeing that there are drivers that are calling out sick right now — flu like symptoms or just not feeling well and when they don’t feel well we want them to stay home because we don’t want them driving a bus when they’re not feeling well and potentially even getting the children sick," Tanya Arja, Hillsborough County Public Schools Spokesperson said.
Arja said they do not have exact numbers of the amount of absences, but she said it isn't isolated to one bus route; it's an issue district-wide and it includes drivers, mechanics, even supervisors. To take care of the routes, some drivers are doubling up on runs.
"Drivers will take students home from school at the end of the day, come back, (and) pick up another set of students and go and take them," Arja said.
The CDC reported this year's flu season is the worst since 2009.
"With all the people that are, you know, getting sick and dying — it's scary," Tammy Esler said.
"If they're getting sick and having flu-like symptoms, it's great that they're letting them stay home and taking care of themselves 'cause nobody needs to be sick," Esler said
Arja said if a bus is expected to be late, picking up children or dropping them off at home, parents will receive a call. Arja said their health services team is constantly checking with the health department, monitoring schools, and she said they take this seriously.