Students and their families line up outside College View Elementary School before the first bell of the school year on Tuesday.

With classes back in session, area officials want to remind drivers to take care. Children are crossing streets, entering and exiting buses and riding their bicycles, especially in school zones.

Council Bluffs police have been helping direct traffic as the school year gets underway.

“Now that the new school year has begun, we ask our community to partner with us to ensure the safety of children on the way to and from school each day,” Council Bluffs Community School District Superintendent Vickie Murillo said. “We value the partnership with our Council Bluffs Police Department for providing officers on site at several of our schools during the first week to keep everything running smoothly in the parking lots, drop off lanes and neighborhoods around our schools.”

According to Tim Hamilton, chief of Student and Family Services for the Council Bluffs Schools, the district expects extra traffic around schools on the first day as parents join in the excitement of taking their children to school.

The move from Kirn Middle School to the Madison Campus grounds — the former Target store at the Mall of the Bluffs — presented a bit of a challenge, but has gone smoothly, authorities said.

“Our school administrators plan carefully to assist parents, especially those new to the school, as they navigate the morning rush,” Hamilton said. “With the move of Kirn Middle School to the Madison Campus for this year, we knew there would be a need to communicate in advance to ensure a smooth arrival this morning.

“We sent parking lot maps to all parents to show the bus and parent drop off and pick up patterns, and we appreciate that parents followed the routes and the directions of our school staff and the Council Bluffs Police officers on site this morning to assist.”

The National Safety Council offers tips for drivers around schools and school buses. According to the NSC’s research, children ages 4-7 are most likely to be hit by cars while walking. The agency recommends drivers:

• Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you. This could put them in the path of moving traffic.

• In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection.

• Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign.

• Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks and in all residential areas.

• Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.

• Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way.

When driving behind a school bus, always leave more distance than you would if you were following a car. According to the NSC, it is illegal in all 50 states to pass a stopped school bus while loading or unloading children.

Remember, if the stop arm is extended or red or yellow lights are flashing, always come to a complete stop from any direction when on an undivided road.

The NSC also reminds drivers to take extra caution when children are present, as they often tend to be unpredictable, ignore hazards and tend to take risks. The area 10-feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children, and ample space should be allowed for them to enter and exit the bus, according to the NSC website.

More information can be found at nsc.org.

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