A roadway icon of the start of school are the big yellow buses once again taking to their routes, and officials are asking motorists to be aware of increased traffic starting tomorrow.
Buses began practicing their routes on Tuesday, with kindergarten round-ups being held at schools to get first-time students used to the idea of riding the bus before the real thing on Thursday.
“Bus schedules may be delayed the first few days of school due to students, parents and bus drivers working to develop safe, orderly and respectful routines,” the Forsyth County Schools website said. “Additionally, please plan for increased traffic around school campuses as our 46,000-plus students and staff return to the roads for the new school year.”
Elementary schools start at either 7:40 or 8:20 a.m. and let out at either 2:20 or 3 p.m.
Middle schools all begin at 9 a.m. and release at 4:15 p.m., and high schools get in at 8:25 a.m. and get out at 3:40 p.m.
“As our school buses begin to roll again, I urge drivers to be alert and exercise patience and caution, especially around children waiting at school bus stops or loading and unloading school buses,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “Patient, informed and law-abiding drivers ensure that our children can arrive safely at school each day, ready to learn.”
According to Georgia law, vehicles traveling in both directions must stop when a school bus activates its stop-arm on a two-lane road or a multi-lane road with no median or barrier.
Vehicles traveling in the same direction as a school bus must always stop, but motorists traveling in the opposite direction can proceed when there is an unpaved median or concrete barrier separating the opposing lanes.
A warning that a bus stop is about to take place will always be given with flashing amber lights on the front and back of the school bus.
“All drivers must pay special attention to children, be focused and exercise caution when in the vicinity of a school bus stop, as student riders can sometimes be unpredictable,” said officials with the Georgia Department of Education. “Once the bus is fully stopped, the flashing red lights will activate and the stop arm will deploy.
“Vehicles must stop and should remain stopped until all loading students are aboard in the morning or all unloading passengers have cleared 12 feet of the roadway in the afternoon. Motorists should proceed with caution only after passengers have cleared the roadway, the stop arm is canceled and the flashing red lights are deactivated.”