It's back to school time for students in two of the largest school districts in the valley on Wednesday, August 24. Students go back to the classroom in the Yakima School District and the West Valley School District. City officials and Yakima Police say the number one job of drivers when school starts is to watch for kids. They remind drivers to stop and wait for a stopped school bus that is loading and unloading and reduce speed to 20 mph.

Triple AAA has some good advice for drivers

Four recommendations from Triple AAA to make your back to school commute safer this week. Slow down, eliminate distractions, make a complete stop at a stop sign and plan some extra time into your commute especially if you drive near schools or in school zones. Speed through a school zone? Yakima Police say speeding tickets double in a school zone so the average cost is more than $180 plus you risk hitting a child.
“We recognize this is a busy and exciting time with children starting a new school year,” says Communications & Public Affairs Director Randy Beehler. “However, we encourage everyone to have safety on the forefront of their minds going into the new school year.”

A press release from the city of Yakima says;

"The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration also recommends:

When transporting children, they should always ride in the back seat. Children in the front seat are 40 percent more likely to be injured in crashes.
When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking of getting there safely.
When crossing the street, look left-right-left for cars. Do not cross if a car is coming.
Pedestrians should access the roadway at designated intersections and crosswalks. Leave the curb or place of safety only when you have the right-of-way." To help with safety efforts, City of Yakima traffic crews have completed programming of yellow flashing lights for school zones in the Yakima and West Valley school districts. Drivers are required to reduce vehicle speed to 20 mph when yellow lights are flashing.

COVID-19 restrictions are pretty much gone

As for COVID-19 restrictions? Many districts are returning to a normal school day without masking or social distancing. In the Yakima School District students who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to stay home for five days and wear a mask for five days when returning to school.

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