For Leanne Lisien, her husband, Brad, and sons Ian and Max, the start of this school year has been a matter of night and day.

Before the sun comes up, 14-year-old Ian, a 9th grader at the Science and Technology Academy, leaves their Squirrel Hill home to take two Port Authority buses to school. Then about three hours later — sun now shining — 12-year-old Max leaves to catch his school bus to Sterrett 6-8.

Schedules and transportation realities have changed for Ian and Max this year — all due to the bus driver shortage, according to the district. Ian’s start time is now about 15 minutes earlier than in the past. Max’s school bus arrives a bit later because school now starts at 9:25 a.m., 15 minutes later than before.

It’s a back-to-school process the family is getting reacquainted with after more than a year of remote learning in Pittsburgh Public Schools. After a delayed school year start and with the COVID-19 pandemic lingering, Leanne said she is hoping for some normalcy this fall.

Ryan Loew is PublicSource’s visual storyteller/producer and can be reached at or on Twitter @ryanloew.


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Ryan is a PublicSource visual producer/storyteller. He joined PublicSource after being a freelance producer of news features and documentary stories in the Pittsburgh region and beyond. His work appeared...