It's a new year in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.
Schools opened their doors Wednesday to students, officially marking the end of summer vacation.
This generally brings mixed emotions of sadness and excitement for kids, parents and school staff. While summer may be short and sweet on the peninsula, the new school year brings challenges, opportunities and the chance to see old and make new friends.
In case you missed it, the Clarion published its annual Back to School section Aug. 12, which included helpful information on the district, school board, school information and the ever-popular bus schedules.
By far, the bus schedules remain the most challenging part of the section, because the routine of picking up students changes from year to year. Students move, graduate or get their own vehicles, while new students are added to the routes. If after the first few days you still have questions, call the district at 714-8834.
For those with children headed back into the world of education or entering it for the first time here are some tips worth remembering:
* To ensure children don't miss their scheduled pick-up time, make sure they are at their bus stop 10 minutes early. Laidlaw buses run on ACS time; the number for that service is 262-9500.
* Remember we share our neighborhoods with moose and other wildlife. Take steps to ensure children are safe. Many parents opt to either walk or drive their children to the bus stop and wait there with them until the bus arrives.
* Make sure your child is dressed appropriately for the weather especially living in a place where it has been known to change quickly.
* Children waiting at a bus stop should have a working flashlight. The light makes them clearly visible to the bus driver and other motorists. Reflective tape on jackets, boots or backpacks also make them more visible.
* Make sure your child knows their bus number, the location of their stop and that they have a telephone number to contact for parents.
* If a hard snow occurs or the roads are icy, call Laidlaw and check on the status of your child's bus. Dispatch will inform you if it is running late and when you can expect it to arrive. Laidlaw also will notify KSRM radio stations if the buses are running more than 10 minutes late.
* If you're driving your child to school, make the most of your time. Put the cell phone away and talk to your kids. This is a great opportunity to find out what they're doing in and out of school.
This also is a good time to remind motorists to pay close attention to the road. Children are waiting at bus stops, loading and unloading along our roadways, so be extra vigilant when you're behind the wheel. Slow down in school zones and other areas where children are present.
Remember to yield for flashing school bus lights. Passing a bus with its lights flashing is not only dangerous, but also illegal. No appointment is worth risking the life of a child.
Keeping an eye out for our children is the responsibility of the entire community, and by keeping that in mind, we can do our part to help students have a safe and productive school year.
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