The U.S. is seeing a shortage of school bus drivers, with schools in nine different states requesting transportation assistance from the National Guard, per CBS News

Schools across the country have been dismissing students early—like over in Pennsylvania—as schools in Florida and beyond are dealing with transportation concerns across the board. Over in Maryland, Earl Stoddard—assistant chief administrative officer of Montgomery County—says the state’s biggest district has requested 200 bus drivers from the Guard, telling CBS that it is “still inclined to try and help us, but they’re looking for resources to do it.”

The state’s National Guard told the publication in a statement that it is assisting with “patient transport” due to the current COVID-19 surge, as well as helping the department of health with testing missions. But now, the lack of services and workers at schools is preventing some from transporting their children to class. 

“You know, the learning loss that we’re now mitigating from earlier pandemic disruptions or earlier pandemic virtual learning is in many ways a significant amount of work to make up for a lot of these students,” Chris Cram, director of communications for Montgomery County Public Schools, shared with CBS. 

A total of 16 schools in the district have opted for online learning, with a record number of school community members quarantining. Substitute teachers have been unable to assist, while parents like Yerania Benicio have had to leave their children home alone. 

“We have to be on-site to be able to do our jobs,” Benicio said. “And it’s either that or we stay home to take care of our children.”

Over in Florida, the Manatee County School District is facing a similar struggle—with 129 bus routes, 42 of which don’t have an assigned driver. Director of Transportation Jamie Warrington told 8 On Your Side that it is unlike anything he’s seen in his 28 years in the business. 

“It is just an unprecedented time that we are living in,” Warrington said. “I would like to say that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and if there is, my glasses isn’t picking it up just yet.”