This post was originally published on September 5, 2013 and updated for comprehensiveness and accuracy. 

With the school year back in full swing after the holidays, now is an opportune time to remind students about school safety and what they can do to protect themselves. Below we discuss five topics that should give students the knowledge they'll need to learn, grow and achieve academic success safely.

1. Drop Off and Meet-Up at the Bus Stop

Does everybody know when and where the bus will arrive before and after school each day? They should. Check and double-check schedules so students know exactly where they should be while waiting for the bus. Sometimes bus schedules and bus numbers change after the holiday break, so it’s always a good idea to notify students and their parents if any changes occur.

If there are small children, have either yourself or a colleague accompany them to and from the bus stop to make sure they travel safely. If kids vary in age, and you feel comfortable having an older child escort their younger siblings to the bus stop, this can also be an option.

2. Teach and Remind Kids to Travel Safely

Educate and remind your students on these key points of safety:

  • Beware of Strangers: Don't talk to strangers or accept anything from them, including a different ride option to school.
  • Follow The Signs: Obey all traffic signals and signs. Know what each looks like and what they mean. Always remember to look both ways when crossing the street and be mindful of traffic.
  • Understand School Bus Etiquette: While on the bus, remain seated. Wait until the bus comes to a complete stop at school or back at home before standing up to pick up an object, adjust a shoestring, or exit the bus.
  • Know Important Names and Numbers: Be sure children know their full name, phone number, and address by heart. They should also know how to call 911 in case of an emergency and when that is an appropriate measure to take.

For children who walk to school, they should:

  • Never walk alone. Always employ the buddy rule.
  • Always take the route you have laid out of them.
  • Keep the “Run. Yell. Tell.” rule in mind.
  • Never talk to strangers.
  • Stay on the sidewalk and out of the street.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street.
  • Only cross the street at a crosswalk, at a stop sign, or traffic light.

And for children who ride the bus, they should always:

  • Stand five steps back from the approaching bus.
  • Take a seat and face forward on the bus.
  • Never stick their head or arms out the window.
  • Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before standing.

3. Communicate Schedules and Pick-Up Plans

It is important to communicate with parents that they should always keep their kids in the loop, especially if there are unexpected changes. Let them know work schedules, and if there are ever any variances. If, for any reason, parents are unable to take them to school or pick them up as usual (or the friend or neighbor you've enlisted to help has a conflict), be sure your student knows the backup plan to prevent confusion and anxiety.

4. Safety Tips Against Germs and Protecting Others

As the cold weather forces us to spend more time indoors, viruses tend to peak during the winter season. You want to make sure your students know how to protect themselves from getting sick and what to do when they get sick. Along with following your school district’s COVID-19 guidelines, your students should be:

  • Washing their hands frequently (especially after using the restroom or before eating)
  • Covering their sneezes and coughs to prevent spreading germs to others
  • Distancing themselves from others who are not feeling well
  • Not sharing toys, drinks, utensils, etc. (especially with people who are not feeling well)
  • Letting you or someone know when they’re not feeling well
  • Staying home when sick

5. Consider Surveillance Solutions for an Extra Set of Eyes

As an additional precaution, consider video surveillance. While meant to keep an eye on your school while away, these tools can also give you peace of mind during everyday activities and help monitor students. For example,  pull up live video feeds on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, and watch your students arrive in the morning or leave safely in the afternoon.

If you found this information helpful, feel free to check out some of our other school blog posts to help educate your students and parents, such as what to do during a school lockdown or tips for open campuses. And if you like to learn more about protecting your school, feel free to contact Vector Security today.