The teachers and students of Rome City Schools will embark on a new school year this morning, once again filling the halls of their respective schools. But with the extra traffic brought on by the first day of school, Rome police want to make sure everyone arrives safely and without incident.
Many parents drive their kids to school on the first day, wanting to see them off, said Rome police Sgt. Danny Story. This adds to the number of cars out on the roads, as students who may ride the bus on other days get a lift from their parents instead.
Story advises drivers to just slow down and buckle up, and leave the house early to allow extra time to arrive where they are going.
Also, drivers need to put down the cellphone, he added, specifically teens who are heading to Rome High.
The increased activity on the roads means drivers need to be focused on their surroundings at all times, Story said.
There’s so much excitement around the start of school, he continued, and he just wants to make sure that isn’t tarnished by a wreck or other traffic incidents.
The department’s motorcycle unit will be out in school zones, watching to ensure drivers follow the reduced speed limits when the yellow light is flashing on posted signs near schools.
In school zones, the regular speed limits drop down 10 mph during drop-off and pickup times, Story said.
Drivers also need to be aware of school bus stops and not pass buses while they are stopped, Story added. A bus will display caution lights before coming to a stop, so drivers need to watch out for that and drive accordingly, he continued. It only takes about 30 to 40 seconds to load or unload a bus with students, and “you can’t be in that big of a hurry,” he said.
The start and end times for schools in the Rome system are:
• Anna K. Davie Elementary — 8 a.m. start, 2:30 p.m. end;
• East Central Elementary — 8 a.m. start, 2:40 p.m. end;
• Elm Street Elementary — 7:45 a.m. start, 2:55 p.m. end;
• North Heights Elementary — 7:55 a.m. start, 2:45 p.m. end;
• West Central Elementary — 7:45 a.m. start, 2:45 p.m. end;
• West End Elementary — 7:50 a.m. start, 2:45 p.m. end;
• Rome Middle — 8:30 a.m. start, 3:35 p.m. end;
• Rome High — 8:20 a.m. start, 3:40 p.m. end.