It's a new year in the Kenai Penin- sula 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.
Bus schedules can be the most challenging part of getting your kids into the classroom, and last year's routine may be different than this year's. 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. District 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 they have a telephone number to contact for parents.
* If a hard snow occurs or the roads are icy, call 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. KSRM radio stations also will be notified if the buses are running more than 10 minutes late.
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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