ARLINGTON, Va. – Arlington Public School’s (APS) will begin a phased return to hybrid, in-person learning on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, starting with all PreK to 2nd grade students. To keep students safe during their commute back to class, the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) will conduct a high-visibility traffic enforcement campaign in and around school zones and bus stops.
Since this is the first time in nearly a year that motorists will see an increased number of students walking, bicycling, and riding the bus to class, ACPD is encouraging the public to refamiliarize themselves with the location of school zones, applicable traffic laws (including those pertaining to school buses), and tips to keep students safe. The expansion of “walk zones” around schools will also require some students to walk and bike further than they have in years past and may result in more students being driven to class. The public can expect to see increased vehicular traffic in and around schools.
Variable message boards will be placed along roadways in Arlington County to raise awareness of the return of in-person classes and to remind motorists to slow down, avoid distractions and watch for students. Temporary parking restrictions are being installed by the Department of Environmental Services in designated areas near schools to create safe park and walk zones for students, teachers and parents. Motorists should be on the lookout for the below temporary parking restriction signage.
Our students depend on all of us to keep them safe. With a little awareness and prevention, all travelers can arrive at their destinations in a timely and safe manner.
Transportation Safety Tips
Drivers are reminded to;
- Obey speed limits which may change during school zone times.
- Avoid distracted driving and keep your attention on the road.
- Effective January 1, 2021, holding a hand-held communication device while driving is illegal in Virginia. Violations could result in a fine of up to $125 for a first offense.
- Watch for students walking and riding bikes to school.
- Don’t pass a stopped school bus loading or unloading passengers. Violations could result in a fine of up to $250.
- On a two-lane road, vehicles traveling in both directions must stop.
- On a multi-lane paved road, vehicles traveling in both directions must stop.
- On a divided highway, vehicles behind the bus must stop. Vehicles traveling in the opposite direction may proceed with caution.
- Have all vehicle occupants wear their seatbelts.
- Pick-up and drop-off students in designated locations.
Pedestrians are reminded to;
- Cross the street at marked crosswalks and never against a red light.
- Look before you cross and follow the direction of school crossing guards, officers and APS staff members.
- Always walk on designated sidewalks or paths, never along the side of a road.
Bicyclists are reminded to;
- Wear your helmet.
- Helmets are required for riders ages 14 and younger but are recommended for all.
- Keep right and ride with traffic.
- Secure your bicycle with a lock when not in use.
General Safety Tips for Students
Safety is everyone’s responsibility and back-to-school is an opportune time to remind students about important steps that can help keep them safe while out in the community. Parents and guardians are also encouraged to role-play possible situations with students and discuss personal safety and awareness tips.
- Know their address, telephone number and how to contact a parent or guardian.
- Remain aware of their surroundings.
- Walk or bike with another person, whenever possible. Stay in well-lit areas.
- Limit the use of devices that may distract them.
- Avoid engaging with or answering questions from strangers.
- Immediately report anything that makes them feel unsafe to a trusted adult.