Safety emphasized as the new school year kicks off

Posted at 6:07 PM, Aug 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-24 20:08:28-04

The first week of school is officially underway in many communities, including Great Falls, and parents and kids are expecting an active week.

Bus drivers have spent the past few months preparing for the school year, adding that the first week of school tends to be the busiest.

Big Sky Bus Lines safety/training officer Brie Walsh said that her team has been going through all sorts of transitions ahead of the school year.

“First week is always very busy because everyone is getting used to the new routine," Walsh said. "We do prepare in advance for the routes but there’s always new things that come along the way, and students are getting used to the new routes, so it’s a very busy time for us.”

Bus drivers have also been busy as they prepare to hit the road over the course of the next 10 months.

Robert Bruce mentioned all the different types of courses and steps drivers have gone through to help prepare them for the school year.

Bruce said, "We have done our routes, went over our routes, we had safety meetings, we are just doing our CPR class now, and getting the buses done. The shop did a good job getting them ready for the school year and looking forward to continuing children's education."

It's not just transportation that will play a major role in getting kids safely to school. Law enforcement will also have their share of work cut out for them as well.

Christopher Araujo serves as a patrol officer at the Great Falls Police Department. He said, "We do try our best to increase patrol for the first few weeks, traffic tends to get pretty hectic for the first few weeks, with people learning their new time schedule with getting kids to and from school, so we do try our best to increase patrol for the first few weeks.

Bus drivers and safety officers also encourage parents to educate their kids on some of the safety aspects when riding the bus, especially for first timers.

“I would say go with your students, and see what it’s like for the first day," Walsh noted. "Make sure you always go five minutes early so you’re not rushing and just meet the bus driver and ask if there are any special instructions that the bus driver needs you to do on a daily basis.”