FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – As the Fort Campbell school year starts, COVID-19 safety and traffic precautions have been put in place to ensure students are protected as they travel to school.
Staying safe in school traffic
In the days leading up to the start of the school year, Aug. 24, drivers should take note of the speed limits in school zones and be alert for an increase in young pedestrians during the morning and after-noon commute.
“The main goal is for a symbiotic relationship between people driving and people walking to school,” said Lt. Nicholas Pietila, traffic supervisor, traffic management and collision investigations division, In-stallation Provost Marshal Office. “As long as people are following crossing guard directions and are using designated crosswalks, and drivers are staying alert in school zones, we should meet this goal.”
School zone speed limits and traffic laws will be enforced with zero tolerance by the Fort Campbell Provost Marshal. An increase police presence throughout school zones during the first two weeks will remind drivers to pay attention to higher traffic volumes, the increased presence of pedestrians and school zone speed limits, Pietila said. According to the most recent provost marshal data, more than 100 citations were issued before schools were closed in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We want to snap people back into the mindset that school is in session,” he said. “We’ll have speed radars posted to the monitor speed of drivers.”
Because of COVID-19 social distancing precautions, the provost marshal anticipates there will be an increase in pedestrians and bike riders in the mornings and the afternoons.
“We’re trying to be fluid and adjust our measures on the fly based on any changes and precautions that come,” Pietila said. “We are prepared to adjust to whatever the new normal is going to be.”
Crossing guards also will be posted at intersections in school zones. Drivers are required to stop at a crosswalk when a pedestrian is crossing, Pietila said. In addition to safeguarding students as they cross the streets, crossing guards will ensure COVID-19 social distancing protocols are being followed.
“Our plan for crossing guards is always fluid, if areas need additional or less support we can make ad-justments as needed,” Pietila said. “Last year we moved guards from areas that didn’t need them to places that did. This year we’re starting with the plan we used last year and can continue to adjust if necessary.”
Pietila reminds drivers to look out for school buses and to remember not to pass a bus when it is stopped. When a school bus has stopped and has its flashing lights on all traffic in front of and behind the bus must also stop.
“Be patient and stay focused on driving,” he said. “For parents of students who are walking, make sure they are visible and make sure they are crossing at the right spots and following crossing guard direc-tions.”
Keeping school buses safe
For students traveling to and from school by bus there are additional COVID-19 precautionary measures in place to protect riders, as well as the bus drivers.
“Parents are expected to check their children’s temperatures prior to sending them to the bus stop,” said Charlotte Moore, transportation director for Fort Campbell Schools. “We will be using hand sani-tizer as they board the bus. The windows will be let down as well. The buses will be cleaned prior to every run and after every run.”
Every student, driver and attendant will be required to wear a face mask while on the bus. Social dis-tancing will be followed as much as possible based on how many riders there are on each bus, Moore said.
“Parents and students waiting at bus stops should try to stay separated, but Families can group to-gether,” she said. “We don’t want to see any horse playing or running around [at the bus stop], but it will be a parent’s responsibility to enforce this.”
Prior to entering the transportation building, bus drivers will be screened and their temperature will be checked before they can begin work for the day, Moore said.