Back to school: Tuesday is first day of school

2019/08/page-1-MS-Staff-Sheep-Mt-2019-300x196.jpg Photo courtesy Chris Hinger
Pagosa Springs Middle School staff summited Sheep Mountain on Sunday in their annual team-building activity before reporting to work on Monday. This is the fifth year in a row that the staff has climbed a Pagosa-area peak. In addition to Sheep Mountain, the staff has climbed Pagosa Peak, Black Head Peak, Treasure Mountain and Alberta Peak.

School is just about to start and Archuleta County students will be hitting the books for the 2019-20 school year.

The following are the hours of operation for each Archuleta School District school starting with the first day of school on Sept. 3.

Pagosa Springs Elementary School: 7:55 a.m. to 3:25 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:55 a.m. to 1:25 p.m. on Friday.

Pagosa Springs Middle School: 8:10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:10 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. on Friday.

Pagosa Springs High School: 8:10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday.

Pagosa Peak Open School: 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. on Friday.

Safety tips

Following are safety tips courtesy the American Red Cross that apply throughout the school year.

School bus safety

• If children ride a bus to school, they should plan to get to their bus stop early and stand back from the curb while waiting for the bus to arrive.

Other safety steps include:

• Wait to board the bus until it has come to a complete stop and the driver or attendant has signaled to get on.

• Tell children they should only board their bus — never an alternate one.

• Always stay in clear view of the bus driver and never walk behind the bus.

• Cross the street at the corner, obey traffic signals and stay in the crosswalk.

• Never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.

Get to school safely

• If children ride in a car to get to school, they should always wear a seat belt.

• Younger children should use car seats or booster seats until the lap-shoulder belt fits properly (typically for children ages 8-12 and over 4 feet, 9 inches) and ride in the back seat until they are at least 13 years old.

• If a teenager is driving to school, parents should mandate that he or she use seat belts. Drivers should not use their cellphone to text or make calls, and should avoid eating or drinking while driving.

• Some students ride their bikes to school. They should always wear a helmet and ride on the right in the same direction as the traffic is going.

• When students are walking to school, they should only cross the street at an intersection.

• Parents should walk young children to school, along with children taking new routes or attending new schools, at least for the first week to ensure they know how to get there safely. Arrange for the kids to walk to school with a friend or classmate.

What drivers should know

Drivers should know what the yellow and red bus signals mean and be aware that children are out walking or biking to school and slow down — especially in residential areas and school zones.

Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is getting ready to stop and motorists should slow down and be prepared to stop.

Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign indicate the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off. Drivers in both directions must stop their vehicles and wait until the lights go off, the stop sign is back in place and the bus is moving before they can start driving again.

In fact, it is state law to stop — whether in the opposite lane or behind the bus — when the bus has stopped and the flashing stop sign and lights have been activated.

Failure to stop for a school bus when lights are flashing results in a mandatory court appearance and, upon conviction, a six-point license violation. In extreme cases, a perpetrator may be fined between $150 and $300, and sentenced to between 10 and 90 days in jail.

What kids should know

Parents should also make sure the child knows their phone number, address, how to get in touch with their parents at work, how to get in touch with another trusted adult and how to dial 9-1-1.

They should also teach children not to talk to strangers or accept rides from someone they don’t know.