School 2020…what will it look like? None of us really know yet as plans and government recommendations seem to change day-to-day. One thing is certain – it will look much different than ever before. If your children are among those physically returning to their school building, bus transportation may be part of their daily routine. Required use of face masks, special seating arrangements, alternate schedules, and new loading and unloading procedures will make even this part of the students’ day drastically different than in the past.
While there will be a lot to cover with your children in regards to COVID-19 safety procedures, it’s still important to review basic bus safety as well. If and when your child(ren) start using the bus, be sure to familiarize them with the process. If they’re getting picked-up/dropped-off near the house, walk with them the first few times, making sure to point out any hazardous spots like road crossings. Be sure they stay clear of the edge of the road while waiting for the bus. Teach them to look both ways for traffic anytime they enter a roadway. Know your bus schedule, so kids aren’t forced to wait too long or rush to catch a bus.
When you encounter a bus on the roadway, be sure to know your local laws on when it’s OK to pass and when you must stop for a bus picking up or dropping off students. For instance, in my Ohio home, traffic in both directions of a two-lane road (or three lanes if a turn lane is present) must come to a complete stop. However, on a road with four or more lanes, drivers on the opposite side of the road are not required to stop (always a pet peeve of mine, as stopping when you shouldn’t could cause an accident), but drivers going the same direction as the bus must stop. Always give school bus drivers extra space to maneuver.
If you drop your kids off at school, make sure you know and follow all of your school’s specific drop-off procedures. Try to drop off in a place where kids don’t have to cross a street. Leave a safe distance between other vehicles in the parking lot, and check carefully on all sides of your vehicle before moving. Don’t block crosswalks, double park, or park in places that aren’t designated spots. Watch for crossing flashers or crossing guards holding a sign and obey their instructions.
Extra attention should be paid whenever around a school; as foot traffic, bus traffic, vehicles, and kids on bicycles often converge in a swarm. Always watch for kids darting into the roadway. As anyone with kids can attest: children are unpredictable, risky, and tend to ignore hazards such as moving traffic.
Share this video with your children to help reinforce bus safety and have a safe, and healthy, school year!
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