Monday marks the first time in almost a year that children have attended classes in person at primary schools across the valley, which means that drivers need to be extra careful when traveling through school zones.
Students in kindergarten through third grade return to class on Monday. All other grades are expected to be back in class by April 6th.
“They are our smallest students, they are our youngest, they are the ones we really need to make sure we know the rules of the road, the rules of the sidewalk, and how to ride a bike and be safe,” said Clark District Commissioner Michael Naft.
Andrew Bennett, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, emphasized drivers’ urges to be aware of children returning to class, noting that over the past school year, 41 students were hit by vehicles while walking to or from schools.
“One of them was fatal and three of them (students) were seriously injured, resulting in life-changing injuries,” said Bennett. “When we talk about the importance of pedestrian safety, literally lives are at stake.”
Public safety officials remind drivers of the following school zone laws.
– Note the specified speed limit.
– Do not turn around in a school zone.
– Do not drive past other vehicles in school areas or vehicles that have stopped at a zebra crossing.
– Allow at least 3 feet of space between your vehicle and people who ride bicycles.
– Stop for pedestrians and cyclists and make sure they are fully crossed before continuing your journey.
Students and parents are also encouraged to plan a route for students to take to school and wear clothing that ensures they are visible to motorists. The officers also urged students to be vigilant when walking or cycling to school and not to wear headphones or look at their phones.
Students should always use a marked zebra crossing when crossing streets and, if possible, cross at intersections. When crossing a street, students are asked to make eye contact with the drivers to make sure they know they are about to cross.
Over 1,600 school bus routes will be in operation from Monday, picking up and dropping off schoolchildren. Drivers are reminded to heed the stop signs on the sides of the school buses.
Children on buses must wear face covering at all times and use hand sanitizer when getting on and off the bus. The buses will be equipped with self-donating hand disinfection bottles. Bus drivers also have spare masks in case a student takes a break.
The buses are loaded from back to front and unloaded from front to back.
“Each student will sit in the closest available seat and follow the seat markings to ensure that our children practice social distancing on the buses,” CCSD Superintendent Jesus Jara said at a press conference last week.
Although the school zones were also active during the children’s remote visits, many motorists appeared to be ignoring the stated reduced speed limits.
“We want to make sure the drivers understand that it’s been over a year since we had students on our streets and sidewalks,” said Naft. “This is really going to require a change in behavior and attitudes.”
The Clark County School District Police Department and Jaguar Land Rover Las Vegas are giving away 300 helmets at Shelly Berkley Elementary on March 6.
Helmets will be provided for free until they run out of stock at the school at 9850 Copper Edge Road in Las Vegas on Saturday, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. A child must be present with an adult to receive a free helmet.
The giveaway is a drive through event and residents are encouraged to wear face covering when picking up a helmet.