Safety Tip of the Week: Heading back to school safely

This week, Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares some tips about heading back to school safely.

Heading back to school safely

Summer vacation is drawing to a close, and soon the bells will be ringing to bring in the new school year.

Keeping children safe is the Olympia School District’s top priority, especially for younger students and those heading to school for the first time. Parents and/or teachers can take the following steps:

  • Teach students not to talk to strangers or accept rides from someone they don’t know.
  • Make sure the student knows their phone number, address, how to get in touch with their parents at work, how to get in touch with another trusted adult and how to dial 9-1-1.

School bus safety 

The school district has a list of bus rules and regulations posted on the district website to assist parents and staff in making sure students are safe. OSD bus rules and regulations may be viewed on the Transportation page on the district website.

What drivers know

Drivers are aware that students are out walking or biking to school and slow down, especially in residential areas and school zones. Motorists should know what the yellow and red bus signals mean. Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is getting ready to stop and motorists should slow down and be prepared to stop. Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign indicate the bus is stopped and students are getting on or off. Drivers must stop their vehicles and wait until the lights go off, the stop sign is back in place and the bus is moving before they can start driving again.

Get to school safely

If students ride in a car to get to school, they should always wear a seat belt. Younger children should use car seats or booster seats until the lap-shoulder belt fits properly (typically for children ages 8-12 and over 4’9”), and ride in the back seat until they are at least 13 years old.

Don’t drive distracted. Drivers should not use their cell phone to text or make calls while driving (it’s the law!), and should avoid eating or drinking while driving.

Some students ride their bike to school. Bike riders should always wear a helmet and ride on the right side of the road in the same direction as traffic is moving.