Students all across the West Kootenays are going back to school on September 10, 2020.

With new COVID-19 protocols set up all across BC, how and when students get there will be different this year.

“Many schools and school districts are going to have varying start and end times. We’re reminding drivers that not only at the 8:00 am to 9:00 am, and 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm times, lots of schools are going to be having pickup and drop offs all throughout the day.” said RCMP Division Media Relations Officer, Cpl. Chris Manseau.

In an effort to curb COVID-19 infection rates, start and ends times for classes will be staggered throughout the day. For that reason, Cpl. Manseau asks drivers to respect school zones no mater the time of day, and to drive a extra cautiously. He also said some schools may have pickup and drop off times outside the normal 8:00 am to 5:00 pm window, so drivers should always be aware.

“Students are going to be distracted by putting on masks. They may not be crossing at proper crosswalks or designated areas like they should be,” Cpl.  Manseau added. “We’re asking pedestrians to stay alert. Any parent who has a kid knows that, you give them as much information as you can, but sometimes you have to hold that responsibility on your own.”

Cpl. Manseau noted there may be an increases police presence in school zones to kick off the season.

“At the beginning of the school year, we like to put the members out there, not only to welcome the students back, but to to remind drivers to slow down and be cautions.”

 

The RCMP provided the following tips for drivers as school returns:

  • When school is in session, a 30 km/hr school zone speed limit is in effect from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm every school day, unless otherwise posted
  • Plan ahead and be alert
    • Driving routes with less traffic in the summer may now face congestion, so give yourself extra time to get to your destination
  • Take your time and don’t rush – especially through intersections
    • Look for children especially near or around crosswalks and intersections close to schools
  • When dropping off children in a school zone stop and allow them to exit onto the sidewalk side of the car
    • Never allow a child to cross mid-block
    • Refrain from stopping on the crosswalk in order to let your kids out of the vehicle
  • If a vehicle is stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be yielding for a pedestrian, so be prepared to stop
  • Always watch for pedestrians when you’re backing up
    • Before you get into your vehicle, make it a habit to walk around your vehicle to ensure no small kids are behind it
    • remember, children will notice your driving behaviour as well as your pedestrian behaviour, so please set a good example for them

The RCMP also outlined the various fines under the BC Motor Vehicle Act relating to the school safety:

Speed in School Zone contrary to Section 147(1) of the BC Motor Vehicle Act
  • Less than 21 km/h – $196.00
  • 21 km/h to 40 km/h – $253.00
Excessive Speed contrary to Section 148(1) BC MVA
  • 41 to 60 km/hr over – $368.00
  • 60 km/h+ – $483.00
Fail to Stop for a School Bus contrary to Section 149 BC MVA – $368.00
Fail to Obey School Guard contrary to Section 179(4) BC MVA – $167.00

Drivers may also have their vehicles impounded for speeds exceeding 40 km/h over the speed limit.

Click here to view the BC RCMP news release: School zones are back in effect, slow down!