School District spokes-woman Barbara Jacoby said traffic will be heavier than usual around elementary, middle and high schools for the beginning of the school year.
“Car rider traffic likely will be heavy the first week of school, as many parents opt to drive their children to school,” Jacoby said. “We encourage parents to allow their children to begin riding the bus the first day. Our school buses are safe, our bus drivers are well-trained and our service is efficient and at no additional cost to parents.”
Jacoby said drivers should stay alert and be extra cautious in school zones.
“There are both children crossing the street and young drivers behind the wheel,” Jacoby said. “We also remind drivers to follow the law and stop in all lanes when school buses stop for pick up and drop off.”
Schools Police Chief Mark Kissel said if drivers don’t stop when buses are loading or unloading, they are breaking the law.
“Those who choose to pass a stopped school bus are gambling with our children’s lives,” Kissel said.
Georgia law requires drivers approaching a stopped school bus with its visual stop signals activated cannot proceed until the bus starts moving or the signals are deactivated, Kissel said.
Kissel said students should also use caution if they choose to bring electronic devices to school with them.
Each school year, Kissel said the CCSD Police Department recieves about 97 reports of theft from students or parents, most of them for stolen cellphones or computers.
“Bringing electronic learning and personal devices to school comes with personal responsibility,” Kissel said, adding most of the items reported stolen during the school year were left unattended in hallways, classrooms, cars, backpacks, purses or locker areas.
Jacoby added “students should be mindful of themselves and their belongings at all times and remember to be respectful and kind to others at all times.”
Jacoby said the newly approved budget for this year includes plans for improvements to safety and security in schools, “including the restoration of five additional CCSD School Police Department officers, which will provide better coverage and response times districtwide.”
Jacoby said panic buttons will be installed in all front offices and a new entry door security system will be piloted this year, also as part of the new budget.
For students attending the 24 elementary schools in the district, school will begin Monday morning at 7:45 a.m. and end at 2:15 p.m.
Most middle and high school students in the district will start their school day at 8:30 a.m., with the final bell of the day ringing at 3:30 p.m., with two exceptions.
E. T. Booth Middle School will start its school days at 8:45 a.m. and end at 3:45 p.m., and Etowah High School will start school at 8:15 a.m. and end at 3:15 p.m.
For more information, visit www.cherokee.k12.ga.us.