HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts National Guard on Friday announced the expansion of its school transportation mission to five additional communities in the Commonwealth, including Holyoke. 

This is in response to requests for assistance from local government officials due to a shortage of school bus drivers. Along with Holyoke, National Guardsmen will also service Brockton, Framingham, Quincy, and Woburn.  

Gov. Charlie Baker initially activated 250 members of the National Guard for transportation assistance on Monday. This week, more than 190 members have completed the driver’s certification for 7D vehicles, a process required to operate transport vans. 

National Guardsmen will also receive vehicle training, background screening, as well as a thorough review of all health and safety measures, the state said. Beyond those certified as drivers, 40 members of the Guard are activated to provide operational support for the transportation mission. 

It’s unclear how long the National Guard will assist the schools with transportation.