Boston Public School’s 23,000 students are expected to head back to class next week, but MBTA shutdowns and a troubled school bus system will not make getting there easy.

Just ask Mano Katsompenakis. His 13-year-old son will need to take a shuttle bus to Government Center every morning from Charlestown. Then, he'll get on the Green Line for a couple stops to catch another shuttle bus that will take him to his school in Roxbury. And all, at least theoretically, by the start of school at 7:10 a.m.

“I thought about not sending my kid to school the first few weeks. But then I'm thinking, ‘Why am I punishing him? He's going to have to work harder to catch up in school,” Katsompenakis said. “BPS has been silent and it's really, really sad.”

BPS said it's doing its best to provide excellent service to the students and their families who will rely on the MBTA to get to school on the first day, Sept. 8. It's distributing 5,000 free MBTA 7-day link passes for students to take the bus and recommends that students practice their new routes before the first day of school. District officials said they have been giving students and their families weekly transportation updates and encouraged them to use a designated helpline and email for additional updates or to share their concerns.

"We are communicating weekly with all BPS families to ensure they are aware of updates and changes and know how to identify your plan for transportation alternatives," Deputy Superintendent of Operations Samuel DePina said at the Aug. 29 Boston School Committee meeting.

While the district also said it has hired 45 shuttle van drivers in an effort to free up more yellow school bus drivers, a lack of drivers and route coverage has been a problem in the past. A recent state report criticized last year’s school bus on-time arrival rate as “unacceptably low.” It also found problems with the way the district cited an 88% on-time performance rate, because it failed to include uncovered routes affecting more than 10,000 students. A review by the state over a two-week period found that as many as 33% of students on those routes were absent from school, and students with disabilities were affected at a higher rate.

BPS and its transportation provider, Transdev, updated their contract earlier this year to include changes such as increased penalites for drivers who are late arriving to work and their use of retroactive paid time off to cover their absences if they don't show up for a shift. BPS said it is in the final year of a 10-year contract with the company, after which it will work with city officials to invite new transportation bids on Sept. 9.

"Students should plan for delays and, where possible, build in additional time to get to and from school," the district wrote to BPS families in an Aug. 23 letter.

Students taking the Orange Line can take a free shuttle bus service from the MBTA along the route, officials said. That will also add to traffic concerns steadily mounting for many commuters.

Charlestown parent Sherry Kelleher told the School Committee that she understands that BPS is scrambling to overcome the shutdown, but she said the district chose to make the MBTA the primary transport system for more than half of its students primarily in grades 7-12.

“With the Orange line and the Green line out of commission to a large extent, it greatly impacts how students get to school,” she said. “How are you rushing to address that? We all have lots of questions. Where do we find the answers?”

Katsompenakis said he has emailed the district for help in recent weeks.

“I have sent personally at least seven emails, with numerous questions ranging from ‘Does anybody have any idea how long this is going to take?’ to 'What time does he need to leave now? Five, four [AM]'”

BPS officials said students will not be penalized for arriving late to school due to MBTA closures.

The BPS general helpline is 617-635-8873. Families also can call the BPS transportation hotline at 617-635-9520 or email for updates or to share their concerns.