School reopening plans include more nurses, fewer kids on buses

Aug 20, 2020

The reopening plans for Wareham Schools are slowly coming into focus, reported Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Shaver-Hood at Thursday night’s School Committee meeting.

The district asked all parents to fill out a Google form with their intentions for the fall and decision about whether their students would attend school entirely virtually or partially in person through the hybrid model.

School officials have heard back from the vast majority of parents, and most will be sending their children to school part-time.

At Decas, 401 students will be hybrid, 146 will learn remotely, and the school is still trying to get in touch with the parents of 40 students.

At Minot Forest, 182 students will be hybrid, 50 will be remote, and officials are waiting on 22 more responses.

At the Middle School, 326 students will be hybrid, 177 will be remote, and 23 are still unknown.

At the High School, 383 students will be hybrid, 178 will be remote, and 25 students’ plans are still unknown.

Parents who have not yet told the schools whether their students will be hybrid or remote are asked to call their students’ principal.

Shaver-Hood said that she has received about 40 applications from parents wishing to home school their children, which is higher than normal.

To protect the health of students and staff, Shaver-Hood said that the district is looking to hire additional janitors and four certified nursing assistants -- one for each school.

She added that she was as surprised as many parents seemed to be by the state’s recent mandate that all students, whether they are attending school in person or not, must receive a flu vaccine before December 31, 2020, unless they can get a waiver.

Bus routes are still in the works, reported transportation director Jamie Andrews. 

Usually each school bus can transport 77 students, but to maintain social distancing, each bus’s capacity will be 25 students this school year. Siblings can sit together, but otherwise, students will need to sit alone on a bench seat on alternating sides (one by the window, the next by the aisle).

No one will be allowed to sit directly behind the driver.

Andrews said that there are 1,986 students eligible to ride the bus. Of that population, he has received 758 applications. That’s a marked decrease from last year.

Parents can still apply to have their child ride the bus, but there is no guarantee that there will be a spot.

Additionally, no variances will be allowed this year. In the past, students could be picked up at home and dropped off elsewhere, like at a grandparent’s house or the YMCA. For safety reasons, that isn’t allowed this year.

Shaver-Hood said that there is a potential work-around: If parents want their child to be dropped off at the Boys and Girls Club, for example, that would be possible if they also bring the child to be picked up there each morning.

For more information about the schools’ reopening, including a guide to frequently asked questions, go to