DEKALB County, Ga. (CBS46) -- A bus driver for the DeKalb County School District, who lost his battle with COVID-19 this week, loved his job, according to the man’s family.

Larry Hinton spent 24 years driving students in DeKalb County to and from school. The 74-year-old die from complications due to COVID-19 on Wednesday. His family told CBS46 he had been in the hospital for more than a month.

“He did that first week of school and by Sunday he said he wasn’t feeling well Then it just went downhill from there,” said his son, Jasvis Hinton.

Hinton is one of two transportation employees in the DeKalb County School District to die from the virus this week. Martha Campbell, a bus monitor in the district for four years, also died. Their deaths come as school districts across the country are dealing with severe shortages of bus drivers.

According to a nationwide survey, more than half of America’s school districts report their driver shortage is "severe" or "desperate." Many drivers retired during the pandemic, and now some are scared of face-to-face interaction with potentially infected kids.

“We shouldn’t be doing in-person schooling,” said Jasvis. “It should still be virtual.”

The DeKalb County School District released the following statement in response to Hinton and Campbell’s death:

“The DeKalb County School District sends its condolences to the families of Martha Campbell and Larry Hinton. Ms. Campbell served as a bus monitor for the district for four years and Mr. Hinton served as a bus driver for 24 years. They represented their roles in an exemplary manner. Their families are in the thoughts and prayers of DCSD.”

“He was a family man first,” Hinton said of his father. “He worked all the time. He never sat down. He will truly be missed.”

The Hinton family is not only dealing with the lost of their father, but their aunt died from complications on Thursday. Two cousins also currently fighting the virus.

Copyright 2021 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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