Transportation info for Parents

posted Aug 25, 2020, 5:08 PM by Grant Harris

Dear Gloucester Public School Families:


As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic is altering our daily lives and how we go to school. We also have to make changes in our school transportation. Based on state guidance from the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education, we are making a number of changes to our transportation service to ensure the safety and health of our students, drivers, and bus monitors.

 

Most importantly we have to reduce the number of students on every single bus or van to ensure appropriate physical distancing. Buses and vans can only have ⅓ of their maximum occupancy. 

 

To ensure physical distancing, we have to limit ridership to those students who live 2 miles or more from their school. Only those students who live 2 miles or more will be able to use school transportation this year. 


In addition to transporting students 2 miles and over only, we are encouraging all families who can, to travel to school by car, bike, or on foot. Small carpools are allowed as long as families keep the riders consistent and do not mix and match families. 

 In the past we have provided transportation for a fee to families who live closer than two miles, but we will not be able to do so this year. No students who are school choice students will receive transportation this year either. 

 Students with disabilities who have transportation required in their Individualized Education Plans will continue to receive transportation as normal. I will reach out to these families directly to let them know about their pick up time. 

 We are asking all families to complete the Transportation Request Form by August 28 so we know whether or not you will be using the school bus this year. You will need to identify all students in your household and whether the child needs transportation for the upcoming school year. We are requesting that all families identify only one address for pick up and drop off. Also families have to commit to using school transportation or transporting their students on their own from the start of the school year until at least January 1, 2021. 

 Veterans Memorial Elementary School All students who attend Veterans Memorial Elementary School live within two miles of the school so we will not be providing transportation to Veterans families this school year. There will be no bus transportation to Veterans this year.

 Grades 7 and 8  Like previous years, students who are in grades 7 and 8 and live more than 2 miles from O’Maley, and choose to use the school bus will be charged $100.00 in accordance with the Gloucester School Committee policy. Invoices for these students will be sent out upon receipt of this transportation form. 

 Using CATA  Buses Gloucester High School and O'Maley Innovation Middle School students, who utilize the Cape Ann Transit Authority (CATA)  bus service will continue to be able to do so. Annual/semester bus passes from last school year will be honored until January 31, 2021 on all CATA routes. CATA will not be selling additional annual/semester bus passes until January 1, 2021. Families who did not purchase bus passes last year may purchase a Pass+ from CATA for use until January 1, 2021, which allows a student to pay a reduced fare when they ride the CATA bus. Further information will be coming out from CATA to families about the services they offer and how to purchase passes. 

 On July 22, 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released guidelines and recommendations for safe school transportation. The full guidelines can be found at: http://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/on-desktop.html

 In addition to those mentioned above, we will put in place the following guidelines on all of our school buses and vans: 

  • Students of all grades and ages (K-12) will be required to wear a face covering while on school transportation. 

  • Hand sanitizing stations will be installed at the entrance of all school buses for students to use upon entering and exiting the school bus. 

  • To ensure physical distancing, school buses and vans will typically be limited to ⅓ of their normal capacity and will have no more than 25 students at one time. 

  • Students will not share seats unless they are from the same household.   

  • Students will have assigned seats based on when they are picked up and dropped off to reduce exposure and make contact tracing easier if a student develops COVID-19.  

  • School buses will be sanitized/disinfected more regularly between routes and after each route at the end of the day. Staff will be trained on proper cleaning. 

  • We intend to add school bus monitors routes to assist drivers with ensuring health and safety protocols and proper seating by students. 

  • Windows and school bus roof vents will be open, weather permitting at all times students are being transported. 

  • Parents/guardians will be asked to complete a health assessment of their child prior to boarding the school bus each morning. 

  • Loading and unloading at the schools will look different and be more systematic to ensure the safety of all students. 

 Please take the time to fill out this Transportation Form 2020-2021 and submit it by August 28, 2020. This information is vital in the planning process and ensuring that we safely meet the transportation needs of our families and students. Any forms returned after August 28, 2020 will be placed on buses on a first come first serve basis depending on available room after all students have been placed on a bus.  

 These are difficult times for all of us. Please understand that all of us at the Gloucester Public Schools are working tirelessly to ensure we can provide a safe and healthy environment for our students and staff to return to in person learning. 

 Together we can ensure the safety of our students and staff while attending in person school and while riding our school buses. I wish you a safe and happy remainder of your summer. We are excited to have you back onboard our school buses. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. 

 Sincerely, 

 Adam J. Mayo

Director of Transportation

Gloucester Public Schools

Office: (978) 282-3001

2 Blackburn Drive

Gloucester Massachusetts, 09130

amayo@gloucesterschools.com



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Grant Harris,
Aug 25, 2020, 5:08 PM
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