PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — After preparing to get back in the classroom for over a year, Monday is the big day for Pittsburgh Public Schools.

“It’s been a long time coming. We’ve been doing a lot of work to get to this point,” said Superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet

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On Monday, 13,720 Pittsburgh Public School students will be back in the building while nearly 8,000 more are choosing to stay remote.

“We announced they could come back on May 3 if they could provide their own transportation. I think we’ve tried to clarify that because we do have transportation challenges,” Hamlet said.

With a lack of bus drivers, the district has struggled to find a solution for all students. After putting out a call to the community, the seat gap numbers drastically dropped from 2,600 to 638 students without a ride.

“Students that fall within that seat gap and don’t have a ride were notified by a robot call this past week, and students who do have a ride would have received a mailer in the mail,” said Megan Patton. the PPS transportation director.

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But come May 10, the district will partner with Pittsburgh Transportation Group.

“As of right now, we are being offered three additional buses and each bus will hold approximately 30 students and will be able to service various schools in the a.m. and p.m.,” Patton told KDKA.

A parent KDKA spoke with said this is not a solution. One mom said the district had months to prepare for the busing issue and even now she won’t know if her son has a ride until the final days of the year.

The district responded saying it’s doing what it can.

“We did reach out to our colleges and universities, etc., to look for transportation. So we’ve been trying to get creative,” said Errika Fearbry Jones, the PPS chief of staff.

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When it comes to that partnership, it won’t be enough to get that seat gap to zero. Even with the extra buses, there will still be roughly 400 students without a ride to school this year.

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