Buses, parents will need to adjust to new elementary schools

Students board a Quincy Public Schools bus to Ellington School at North 25th Street in January. The schools are asking parents to be patient with bus routes for the 2019-20 school year. | H-W Photo/Jake Shane
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Aug. 5, 2019 12:01 am

QUINCY -- Opening the new Thomas S. Baldwin and Sarah Atwater Denman Elementary Schools will mean busing changes for those students.

At the end of the school day, for example, "kids should be dropped off 15 minutes earlier," Quincy Public Schools Transportation Director Shane Barnes said, because students will be in the two new buildings for the 2019-20 year instead of split between four buildings as they were in 2018-19. "The other big change is several subdivisions across from Denman are now walk zones."

Buses and parents will need to adjust to the new buildings.

At Denman, buses will occupy the west half of the parking lot and parents will have the east half, and at Baldwin, buses will enter "off Maine at the high school and drop off. Parents will be coming in the old circle drive and looping up by the old round room, then going out that same entrance, straight across from the YMCA. In the afternoon, the buses will pick up by the Baldwin gym," Barnes said.

The department plans to mail letters in early August listing bus stop locations and pickup and drop-off times.

Parents at all grade levels should anticipate the first days of school and busing will be chaotic.

"For the first two or three days, be patient. Don't hesitate to call, but be patient," Barnes said. "Anticipate us having some adjustments."

The shift to the new K-5 learning communities meant major changes in transportation -- from bus routes and stops to pickup and drop-off times -- in the 2018-19 school year, but beyond the two new schools, Barnes expects few other changes for the coming school year.

Some bus stops last year, and potentially this year, have too many students with K-5 being picked up at the same time.

"We'll look at that to help behavior at bus stops," Barnes said. "Those smaller changes to help the system is what we'll look at this year."

But making the Transportation Department aware of changes in student address, pickup and drop-off locations and telephone number remains important.

"It helps if everybody doesn't wait to the first day of school to let us know they moved or changed something, especially for the younger ones," Barnes said.

If students should be dropped off at their grandma's instead of at home, "we should have known that before the first day of school."

The department will be taking calls from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 5 through 9 to make sure student information is correct and to answer any questions.

Also for 2019-20, QPS plans a change in the morning traffic pattern at Quincy Junior High School.

Northbound traffic will be blocked from Jersey to Maine on 14th Street, so that students being dropped off will not have to cross traffic to get to the junior high. Northbound vehicles will have to go west on Jersey next to the junior high or go east on Jersey. 14th Street will remain open for southbound traffic.

"We're doing that for safety purposes, not to cause chaos the first day," Superintendent Roy Webb said. "We're doing it to keep the kids safe."