DUNNELLON, Fla. (WESH)—Karen Newman’s son goes to Dunnellon High School in Marion County, and she was told about what happened this week.

“For the past three days my son has been coming home, saying that the bus has been at capacity. Kids standing up, not wearing masks and yesterday he sent me a picture,” Newman said.

Newman is concerned about COVID-19 and she wants the district to take action.

“Protect our kids. Protect our kids. If it takes getting two busses, get two busses. Don’t have our kids crammed into a bus shoulder to shoulder,” Newman said.

Newman said her son, who is a senior, wanted to spend the school year with his classmates, but Newman said she is reconsidering face-to-face learning.

“I’m scared to send my kids to school and I don’t want to be. My mother is 70 years old, got bad health problems. I don’t want him bringing something home to her,” she said.

We sent Marion County Public Schools the photo that was taken.

A district spokesperson made the following statement:

“The two routes had to be combined Wednesday because the regular driver did not report for work. Another driver picked up students from that route on her 77-passenger bus. Today, the combined route is on an 83-passenger bus.

“This particular route will be split back into two routes as early as tomorrow. This is not an unusual occurrence for districts that operate considerable amounts of buses on a daily basis.

“The routes were temporarily combined yesterday and not at full capacity because a combined 50 students were on a 77-passenger bus.

“Despite our best efforts to predict how many students are at each bus stop, we never leave students behind for safety reasons.

“Every student boards the bus either with a face covering of their own or one provided by the driver. Drivers regularly remind students to wear their masks. It is not feasible to stop the bus every time a student takes their mask off. Riding the bus is a privilege that can be revoked if a student repeatedly disobeys the driver. The daily goal is to transport students to and from school safely and efficiently.

“Buses are disinfected between all routes and undergo even more extensive cleaning every evening.

“We’re always looking for more bus drivers and welcome any opportunity to share that need.”