It was not the "smooth as usual" opening Tuesday that Gloucester public school officials have traditionally reported, as staff and students adjusted to new bus routes, schedules and settings.
"It was a busy day. There were no major hindrances, just a lot of little things that kept everyone busy," said school division assistant superintendent John Hutchinson. One of those things included four separate bus schedules, which Hutchinson said are still being adjusted.
"We had some late buses. Roger (transportation director Roger Kelly) had a large turnover in staff this year. Also, the new bridge at Allmondsville has a bus restriction, so we have to do the pick up at one end or the other. That caught some parents off guard, although we attempted to notify everyone. In the end, everybody got to school and got home safely," Hutchinson said.
The new bus schedules are due to the efforts to serve the students displaced by the partial destruction of Page Middle School in April. After combining the county’s two middle school populations at Peasley Middle to get through the last school session, those students have again been divided.
All approximately 425 county eighth graders are housed in new modular classrooms on the Gloucester High School campus, while 945 sixth and seventh graders are attending Peasley. The eighth grade modular cluster at GHS is now known as Page Middle School.
Hutchinson said things went smoothly at Page, but some changes may be made in the way the eighth graders off-load their buses for added safety. He said adjustments will also be made to further accommodate staff parking, which was reduced by the mobile classrooms. "Just some little things we didn’t foresee," he said.