Back-to-School Safety

Back-to-School Safety

This year, many adolescents will return to school after prolonged closures. It’s important they feel safe and supported as the school year kicks off. Following a few safety tips can help prevent children and teens from suffering serious injuries

By: Alexandra de Leon Date: August 17th, 2021

Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools

Students benefit from in-person learning, and safely returning to in-person instruction in the fall 2021 is a priority. Vaccination is the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Promoting vaccination can help schools safely return to in-person learning as well as extracurricular activities and sports.

  • Due to the circulating and highly contagious Delta variant, CDC recommends universal indoor masking by all students (age 2 and older), staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.
  • In addition to universal indoor masking, CDC recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms to reduce transmission risk. When it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least 3 feet, such as when schools cannot fully re-open while maintaining these distances, it is especially important to layer multiple other prevention strategies, such as screening testing.
  • Screening testing, ventilation, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, staying home when sick and getting tested, contact tracing in combination with quarantine and isolation, and cleaning and disinfection are also important layers of prevention to keep schools safe.
  • Students, teachers, and staff should stay home when they have signs of any infectious illness and be referred to their healthcare provider for testing and care.
  • Many schools serve children under the age of 12 who are not eligible for vaccination at this time. Therefore, this guidance emphasizes implementing layered prevention strategies (e.g., using multiple prevention strategies together consistently) to protect students, teachers, staff, visitors, and other members of their households and support in-person learning.
  • Localities should monitor community transmission, vaccination coverage, screening testing, and occurrence of outbreaks to guide decisions on the level of layered prevention strategies (e.g., physical distancing, screening testing).

Source: Centers for Disease Control, **updated August 5, 2021

COVID-19 guidance for parents of schoolkids

Source: UW Medicine Newsroom

Walking to School

Everyday in the U.S. more than 40 kids are hit while walking to school.

To stay safe:

  • Children should only walk to school alone if they are old enough and ready to make the walk safely.
  • Children are not ready to walk to school without an adult until they are at least 10 years old.
  • Younger kids cannot be trusted to make smart traffic choices on their own.
  • Plan and practice a safe walking route with your child until she knows it well.
  • Use streets with sidewalks, crosswalks and crossing guards. Avoid as many intersections as possible.
  • Have children walk with a friend or in a group.
  • Talk to your child about what to do if they are approached by a stranger.
  • Don’t walk while distracted, put your phone and/or headphones down
  • Use bright colors if walking at night, avoid dark clothes
  • Look out for careless drivers
  • Avoid walking in the roadway, stay on sidewalks when possible
  • Look for cars backing out of parking spots, driveways, busy streets

Source: Nationwide Children’s Hospital

School Bus Safety Tips

  • Children riding the bus to school should learn and practice a few safety rules for getting on and off the bus
  • Get to the bus stop early. Do not run to the bus
  • Wait until the bus has come to a complete stop before walking toward it
  • If crossing the street, wait for a signal from the bus driver.  Look both ways to make sure there is no moving traffic from either direction
  • Always cross in front of the bus so the driver can see you
  • If the bus has lap and shoulder belts, use them
  • Once the bus is in motion, remain in your seat
  • If the window is open, keep your arms and head inside the bus at all times
  • Do not stand up to get off the bus until it has completely stopped
  • Only get off the bus at your assigned spot

Source: Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Rules for Driving Near a School Bus in Washington State

  • The driver of a vehicle upon overtaking or meeting from either direction any school bus which has stopped on the roadway for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school children shall stop the vehicle before reaching such school bus when there is in operation on said school bus a visual signal as specified in RCW 46.37.190 and said driver shall not proceed until such school bus resumes motion or the visual signals are no longer activated.
  • The driver of a vehicle upon a highway divided into separate roadways as provided in RCW 46.61.150 need not stop upon meeting a school bus which is proceeding in the opposite direction and is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging school children.
  • The driver of a vehicle upon a highway with three or more marked traffic lanes need not stop upon meeting a school bus which is proceeding in the opposite direction and is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging school children.
  • The driver of a school bus shall actuate the visual signals required by RCW 46.37.190 only when such bus is stopped on the roadway for the purpose of receiving or discharging school children.
  • The driver of a school bus may stop completely off the roadway for the purpose of receiving or discharging school children only when the school children do not have to cross the roadway. The school bus driver shall actuate the hazard warning lamps as defined in RCW 46.37.215 before loading or unloading school children at such stops.
  • Except as provided in subsection (7) of this section, a person found to have committed an infraction of subsection (1) of this section shall be assessed a monetary penalty equal to twice the total penalty assessed under RCW 46.63.110. This penalty may not be waived, reduced, or suspended. Fifty percent of the money so collected shall be deposited into the school zone safety account in the custody of the state treasurer and disbursed in accordance with RCW 46.61.440(5).
  • An infraction of subsection (1) of this section detected through the use of an automated school bus safety camera under RCW 46.63.180 is not a part of the registered owner’s driving record under RCW 46.52.101 and 46.52.120, and must be processed in the same manner as parking infractions, including for the purposes of RCW 3.50.10035.20.22046.16A.120, and 46.20.270(3). However, the amount of the fine issued for a violation of this section detected through the use of an automated school bus safety camera shall not exceed twice the monetary penalty for a violation of this section as provided under RCW 46.63.110.

Source: Washington State Legislature 

 

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