MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Nearly 1,000 bus drivers got behind the wheel Monday to haul more than 54,000 Miami-Dade County public school students to school.
"We had a dry run on Friday, and getting out, learning and making sure we know the stops," bus driver Chonita Harris said. "We are one of the first ones the kids get to see in the morning before they get to school with the teachers."
Local 10 News reporter Layron Livingston caught up with superintendent Alberto Carvalho, who said that the first day of school is his "favorite day of the year."
"Our teachers are ready to teach, our bus drivers are ready to transport (and) our schools are absolutely ready to inspire kids," he said.
Many of those schools are either newly renovated or brand new, thanks to a $1.2 billion bond package, nearly half of which has been spent to upgrade those campuses.
With the new school year, also comes new concerns, especially for schools in the so-called Zika zone in Miami-Dade County.
Jose de Diego Middle School in Wynwood is in the original Zika zone, and it was one of the superintendent's stops Monday morning.
"What we're telling kids is common sense," Carvalho said. "Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and have parents apply bug repellent on your skin and clothing."
"They've been taking care of it," one parent, Nory Zaldivar, said. "They're exterminating with the planes and everything. It should be fine."