Last school year, it was hit and miss if kids were in the classroom or at home learning via Zoom.

It’s hard to predict how this entire school year will go, but for now, our school districts will have kids back in the classrooms. With that comes safety issues for children going and coming home from school.

With the return to normalcy comes some reminders about safety.

Remember the mornings are darker now as the fall season is creeping in.

Some kids will have bright-colored clothes on, but others will not. Be extra cautious as you head out for the day, and be aware of the kids walking to school or to the bus stop.

Kids will be getting up early and in a hurry to rush out the door to catch the bus, walk to school and meet up with friends.

During this excitement, not all children will pay attention to their surroundings and may dart out into the road to cross the street.

If you are driving, watch for them. If you are a parent, here are some safety tips to consider before sending kids out the door:

— It will be still a bit dark in the morning when the school bus stops, so make sure your kids are aware of their surroundings and wear brightly colored clothing.

— Glow sticks are wonderful during the dark hours and can be hooked to clothing and backpacks.

— Remind the kiddos to stay off the traveled portion of the roadway. People in cars are also just starting to get used to kids walking in the morning hours.

— If your child walks to school and needs to cross a street, please walk the route and locate the nearest crosswalk.

— Earbuds are popular these days, but aren't great to wear near traffic. Your child may not hear a warning honk from a car.

— Instruct your children to not talk to strangers who may drive up at the bus stop or while they are walking. Talk to your kids about safety and have them report any suspicious people or cars that approach them. If your kid has a cellphone, have them prepared to dial 911 if something happens that makes them feel uncomfortable.

— If your child is walking home from school, make sure you have a plan if you or another adult will not be home.

— Talk to your closest neighbors about your child’s schedule and let them know approximate times they will be home. Neighbors can be a great asset during these busy times.

— Chad Clark is undersheriff of the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office. Send questions to csocommunity@co.skagit.wa.us.

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