School resource officer breaks down safety plans for student pickup and dropoff
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - School drop-off and pick-up hours are high-traffic times around Anchorage schools.
The Anchorage School District bus driver shortage is creating an influx of traffic this school year, according to School Resource Officer Matthew Ivacic.
“There’s obviously a lot more traffic with a lack of some buses,” Ivacic said.
According to the Anchorage School District, they are short 65 school bus drivers within the district.
Of the approximately 20,000 students that are eligible to use public transportation to get to school, the district is only able to transport 7,000 students. This is creating a higher volume of families this year, having to drop off their students or have them walk to school.
“There’s a lot of pedestrian traffic,” Ivacic said. “With that, I will tell you that we want drivers to watch out for pedestrians.”
Ivacic said drivers need to slow down in the marked school zone areas and pay attention to their surroundings, and urges drivers to not use their phones while driving.
“Distracted drivers are unsafe drivers,” Ivacic said. “It’s against municipal code to operate a cell phone while you’re in a school zone. That’s a $500 fine and six points against your license.”
Ivacic said that families should work to make sure that students walking to school are visible. Students should dress in bright, reflective clothing. With the dwindling sunlight, Ivacic recommends that students also wear lights attached to their backpacks, ankles, and clothing, helping increase visibility for drivers on the road.
Furthermore, Ivacic recommends that families craft a safety plan for after-school pick-ups. Students this year might be waiting outside longer for their parents to pick them up from school.
“I would tell their children to make sure they maintain a close distance to the school. Generally, there is a lot of staff here still a couple of hours after school that they can reach out to for help,” Ivavic said.
Families should talk to their students and figure out where they can access a phone if they need one and know who they can call in case of an emergency. Ivacic said that once a family creates a plan, they should stick to it, but be prepared for a change of plan.
“Your school might have buses now, but in three to six weeks your school might lose buses which will effect the traffic flow,” Ivacic said.
Ivacic said families should drop off students in the designated drop-off zones to make sure that all students make it to class safely and do not get lost.
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