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Massachusetts National Guard expands school transportation efforts to four more districts

Karen Iannalfo, a safety trainer with the NRT Bus company, instructed National Guard members about school bus operations during a training session in September.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

National Guard efforts to assist with school transportation in Massachusetts amid a national driver shortage will expand to four more districts, state leaders announced on Thursday.

In addition to the nine communities that already had been receiving assistance, National Guard members now also will transport some students to schools in Haverhill, Revere, Wachusett, and Worcester. The districts already in the program were Brockton, Chelsea, Framingham, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Quincy, and Woburn.

Guard members are driving transport vans known as 7D vehicles and have received vehicle training, background screening, and a review of all health and safety measures, according to a statement from the state’s Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

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Last month, shortly after most school districts had started the academic year, Governor Charlie Baker activated the National Guard to help districts who requested assistance with school transportation. Up to 250 personnel were made available, and more than 190 Guard members have completed the driver’s certification process. Approximately 40 others are providing operational support.

“The Massachusetts National Guard trains regularly with law enforcement, civilian, and other military agencies to provide a broad spectrum of services in support of security, logistics, disaster relief, and other missions,” Executive Office of Public Safety and Security wrote in a statement. “The Guard has a proven track record of success supporting civilian authorities. Their frequent side-by-side training with state and local first responders makes them well-suited for a variety of missions.”