School year starts with safety

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- School begins Aug. 25 for most Department of Defense Dependent Schools - Europe. The first days of school are critical for the safety of children.

"Just being aware of the influx of students that we have, especially that first day of school there will be more kids and more parents," said Chi Anne McGrew, 52nd Mission Support Group school liaison officer. "It's also going to be a little confusing for new parents that have not brought their kids to school before."

School drop off patterns have changed for some schools in the area.

"At Spangdahlem elementary school you drop off right there in front of the school," McGrew said. "At Spangdahlem Middle School, the kid drop off point is in the back by the sidewalk at the medical clinic parking lot. Bitburg elementary has a new drop off point that is between two old housing buildings at the side of the school while the busses drop off in the front. The high school is unchanged from last year."

"There are differences in traffic rules when comparing European and U.S. requirements. In the U.S., traffic stops when buses are loading and unloading, but in Europe, traffic is allowed to continue moving. Be aware of this while driving off-base during the loading and unloading times," said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. James Yerger, 52nd Fighter Wing ground safety manager. "On base, there is a separate lane for buses at the middle school and a separate parking lot at the elementary school, so this rule is not an issue. As a reminder, parents are not to use the parking lot behind the bowling alley as a pick-up or drop-off area to prevent children from crossing the street and crossing between buses." 

For safety reasons, students are asked to stay on the same side of the street where the bus drops and picks up at, and remain on the sidewalk until the bus is passed to cross the street.

Britt highlighted bus rules to follow to include remaining seated at all times while the bus is moving; no eating or drinking on the bus, keeping your hands and other body parts to yourself, no throwing objects on the bus and talking is allowed on the bus, but at a quiet tone.

Parents should keep their children informed of safety procedures when on the bus or being dropped off at the school.

"Just be more aware and more cognizant of what's going on and again, make sure everybody is driving slowly and safely so that everybody is safe," McGrew said.

There will be an Eifel Community Schools open forum at the Spangdahlem Middle School auditorium for parents on Aug. 27th at 4 p.m. - 5 p.m. Parents can learn about the schools, meet the new administrative team have the opportunity to ask questions and hear from the Kaiserslautern superintendent Dell McMullen.