Take extra traffic precautions as school starts
Starting Monday, schools across Arkansas are headed back to class. It would be foolish to try and pretend that this annual blog we do reminding people about school traffic safety is anything but the usual.
COVID-19 has turned everyone’s worlds upside down to varying degrees, and parents, educators, and the community have worked to figure out what they hope is a safe way for children and their teachers to return to their beloved school buildings. Some parents are choosing to send their kids back to the traditional classrooms, some are taking the virtual school option, and others are choosing to homeschool.
Regardless of the decision each parent makes, we as a community still need to be mindful of the increased traffic that will come from the schools being in session and especially the potential safety risks involved.
First, let’s remember that everyone’s mindset will be different this year compared to the previous “back to school” weeks. Schools have been out of session since March, so everyone is out of practice with normal school routines. Parents may be distracted by worry as they take their kids to school. Kids may be distracted by wearing masks as they get on or off the bus or, especially in the early weeks, might be excited about seeing friends that they’ve not talked to in months. In other words, people will likely be more distracted than normal.
We partner every year with the Arkansas Department of Education for their Flashing Lights Kids Ahead initiative that reminds people about safety around school buses. They offer these School Bus Safety Tips for Parents on their website, along with other resources.
It takes a community
As we move into a new school year, we know that no one knows how it will go but we do know that when it comes to bus and traffic safety, we do have control over that. We know that everyone wants to get where they are going on time so we recommend starting early for work if you don’t work from home.
Keep in mind that the bus routes change every year, and with some districts reporting bus driver shortages, that will make the routes potentially even more unusual compared to previous years. Realize that the routes may even change throughout the year.
Do not be impatient with the bus drivers and the kids getting on the bus. And when you see the flashing red lights go on, and that red stop sign stretches out, obey them every time. This is true if you are on either side of the street. Keep in mind that students may be crossing the street right in front of you!
Stay off your phone while you’re driving, and remember that using your phone at all in a school zone is illegal.
We hope that everyone has a fun, educational school year. Remembering to stay safe on the roads is a part of that journey!