NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk Public Schools reopen Wednesday and local officials are asking drivers to be careful on the roads.
Norwalk has a “staggered entry” schedule: Grades One through Six and ninth-graders at both high schools and seniors at Norwalk High start the year on Wednesday. Kindergarten students will also start with a half-day schedule Wednesday. The remaining students begin classes on Thursday.
The bus schedules for all schools are now available online at the Norwalk Public Schools website. If you think you need to change your child’s bus stop or add a new one to an existing route, you can fill out a request at the Transportation Department’s website here.
Norwalk Police will have “a visible presence” at all schools starting Wednesday and throughout the school year. In particular, police will focus on ticketing distracted drivers, especially those on cell phones, as well as speeding, and failing to stop for school buses or pedestrians in a crosswalk.
“This additional police presence is a reminder to slow down and keep safe,” Sgt. Lisa Cotto said. “Norwalk Police urge everyone in our community to help us protect our children and stay alert while driving.”
In Connecticut, it is illegal to pass a school bus from either direction when its stop bar is extended, except on the opposite side of a road divided by a raised median. Violations carry a fine of $425.
Nearly one-third of child pedestrian fatalities occur during walks home from school, according to the Connecticut State Police.
Parents are asked to give their children these tips for walking safely:
▪ Stay on the sidewalk at all times.
▪ Cross only in a marker crosswalk or at corners.
▪ Always check both ways before crossing the street.
▪ Do not talk or text on a cell phone wall walking or crossing the street.
Drivers are encouraged to take extra care with school in session, especially during the before-school and after-school rush periods. Even properly guided children may make mistakes, experts say.
“First, it’s difficult for children to judge traffic situations because their peripheral vision is much narrower than that of an adult,” Fran Mayko of AAA of Southern New England said in an e-mail. “And second, kids assume if they can see a car, the driver can see them – which isn’t necessarily the case.”
For drivers, AAA of Southern New England offered these tips:
▪ Slow down near school and residential areas.
▪ Drive with headlights on -- even during the day -- so children and other drivers can see you.
▪ Look for clues that children are present: school-crossing signs, crossing guards, flashing school-zone lights, school buses, and playgrounds.
▪ Scan between parked cars for signs that children might dart into the road.