Schools in the Happy Valley area will be opening their doors on Tuesday, Sept. 5th. A new school year brings about a variety of thoughts and emotions. Whether you wish it were an endless summer or are eagerly looking forward to more structure, the start of the school year brings with it a new schedule, routines, and sometimes, new parenting dilemmas. Parents, students and teachers all play important roles in a safe and successful start to the school year.

Driving Responsibly
Don’t let distractions or a time crunch endanger your child or someone else.  Please slow down and stay alert in the residential neighborhoods as students head to bus stops or back home.  Understand that flashing yellow lights on a school bus indicate the bus is preparing to stop. You should immediately slow and prepare to stop.  Red flashing lights and the extended stop arm means the bus has stopped and is either loading or unloading kids.  Cars approaching from either direction must stop and remain stopped until the red lights stop flashing, the stop arm is retracted and the bus begins to move. In school zones, you must follow the 20 mph posted school zone speed when it’s flashing between 7 am and 5 pm on school days, or whenever children are waiting at or occupying a school crosswalk, with or without a crossing guard.

Kids on the Streets
Whether your child walks to school, rides a bike or takes the bus, they should be frequently reminded about safety precautions.  Students who walk to school should be taught to always walk on the sidewalk, cross the road only in marked crosswalks and obey crossing guards.  If they walk on a street without a sidewalk, they should always walk facing traffic.  Bike riders, always with a properly fitted helmet, should ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, and ride single file if riding with companions.  They should walk their bike across an intersection. If your student takes the bus, remind them to remain seated and avoid horseplay. Don’t let your children use iPod’s or other headsets when they bike or walk, and remind your bus rider to remove any earbuds when exiting the bus.

Bus Stops
Walk younger students to their bus stop.  Make them repeat the safety rules: to only cross at street corners or crosswalks, to never run out into the streets or play around at the bus stop; and never walk behind the school bus, but only in front of the bus where the driver can see them and monitor a safe crossing with red lights flashing.

Thank you for driving safely and distraction free. It is up to each of us to make our streets safe by being a safe driver, pedestrian, and cyclist.