School Dismissal Safety
Student safety should be the number one priority of every school. This includes a safe school dismissal process. A vast majority of schools experience a sort of ‘rush hour’ during dismissal, which can be chaotic and stressful. This congestion can be dangerous to navigate, especially for students.
Increasing safety should always be the goal. School administration has the responsibility of creating routines that ensure children can safely get home. Parents are important to the safety process, but schools still play the biggest role.
This means that it’s up to the school to develop policies that address how students of all ages are dismissed or held at the end of the day. This policy should include adult supervisors, their locations and duties during dismissal time. Parents or guardians also need to be educated on each school’s policies if they want to pick up their kid stress-free.
Schools Need to Inform Parents
The school needs to inform parents about proper kid supervision as well as any available after-school services. The policy may also include how the parents can inform their schools of any changes in their kid’s routine.
It is critical that the parent is aware of who is picking up their kid and where. This is why it’s important that the dismissal policy allows room for parents’ requests and suggestions- at the end of the day, no one cares more about their kids than they do.
Moreover, schools need to create an alternative solution for circumstances when the designated person to pick up the kid does not arrive or is running late.
School Dismissal Problems and Solutions
Policies should be developed collectively with parent-teacher organizations, the local community, and the school board, as well as other stakeholders. Engineers can recommend policies related to arrival and dismissal, which complement infrastructure modifications.
The group should convene to identify the issues, discuss solutions, and draft policy language. Parents should be notified about new policies via mailings, calls, meetings, e-mail, and/or social media.
The Primary Dismissal Concerns
One of the primary concerns during school dismissal is road-related accidents and traffic. High volumes of traffic at the majority of schools during dismissal or pick-up times often lead to poor circulation of traffic, which most often poses a great danger for everyone.
For example, students bicycling or walking from and to school may refrain from using crosswalks or sidewalks. Buses may block the visibility of bicyclists and pedestrians, which may result in an unanticipated danger.
Sometimes, traffic congestion is a hazard to pedestrians and bicyclists during arrival and pick-up times, especially when motorists exhibit non-compliant or erratic behaviors. When automobiles are lined up, students may have to cross between cars, where they are less visible to other drivers. A solution to this problem is the use of student valets who can open car doors for students and help them in or out of the vehicle, encouraging the parents to stay in their vehicles.
Additional operational modifications can improve traffic flow, thus reducing congestion. Policies and programs that encourage walking, bicycling, busing, and carpooling will also reduce congestion and improve safety at schools.
Traffic Congestion Solution
Traffic congestion can greatly compromise the safety of kids. It is, therefore, a must, to find solutions that can effectively reduce this concern. The most common solution to the problem of traffic congestion is to reduce the number of students taking private vehicles to school. Below are a few more possible answers to this dilemma.
Parents need to be aware of the occurring road-related problems that affect their kid’s safety when going to and returning from school. Parents must be educated about the dangers of traffic violations, the mode of transportation that their kids are using, and their role in reducing traffic congestion and elevating students’ safety by simply following the road rules. Such information can be provided in the PTA newsletter or distributed in fliers handed to the parents. Once parents have this information they will be able to be more cautious on their way in and out of the school.
Car pick-up lines
Having pick-up lines can significantly reduce the problem of congestion. They allow for particular areas where private vehicles can pick up kids in an organized way.
Parking and curbing zones
Using signs and curbing to extend the pick-up areas, creating temporary parking zones and no-parking zones, may possibly reduce congestion in the immediate school area.
Traffic line synchronization
This is a simple yet effective approach. Examining the existing traffic lights and then revising its timing in order to synchronize with the dismissal times of the schools in the proximity. Though, this measure needs coordination with the traffic authority within the location. It may also not be effective especially if the light’s timing isn’t the main source of the traffic congestion.
Encourage students to bike or walk to school
This will not only lessen congestion but will also provide environmental and health benefits. The school can establish programs promoting walking/ biking by enabling students to get rewards or points based on how frequently they walk or bike to school.
Schools can also implement programs that can encourage parents to do carpooling. It may be in a way of adding incentive into carpool when the school creates a special express carpool lane. This allows participating drivers to get out of school premises much faster and more efficiently.
Instituting school busing program
This option is often viewed as somewhat cost-prohibited. Instituting this kind of program needs to be handled cautiously and must involve where and when busses would load and unload and whether or not it will consider school bus alerts. Using this option will be much more effective if the school administration conducts a survey asking parents their insights about the program.
Altering drop-off and pick-up rules
Schools can reduce congestion considerably by altering the times during which parents can drop off or pick up their kids or by staggering bell times. However, parents who have multiple children at the same school, yet different drop-off and pick-up times, may discourage these changes.
A related change would be to change or add drop-off and pick-up locations, encouraging alternative routes into and out of the school area so that drivers would not all congregate in one place. Instituting “valets” at drop-off locations, whereby school staff or volunteers escort students from car to school, can also expedite the drop-off process.
School Dismissal Software
School dismissal software is the modern solution to avoid those anxious dismissal hours. It solves the question of where the students are after the dismissal and whether or not they arrive home safely. This software usually appears as smart-phone applications, which both parents and teachers can download in order to check on kids after dismissal.
Dismissal software can be used that operates in accordance with the existing school dismissal procedure, making it extremely safe and secure. Sometimes, it shows the precise location of the kid in the school giving notifications on whether a student safely boarded the school bus and what time has the student been dropped off at the designated location stops.
There is also other software such as K-12 school software and a special software feature called geo-fence for school safety. Geo-fence uses GPS (Global Positioning System) and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) to define particular geographical boundaries. Simply put, geo-fence is a sort of virtual barrier.
Incorporating geo-fencing into a particular program will allow administrators to create triggers and set them up so when another device enters or exits from the predetermined boundaries, an email alert or text message is sent to the dismissal administrative.
Prioritizing Student Safety
Students’ safety is imperative, especially in today’s world of uncertainties. Adults need to find a way to ensure that students of all ages can go back and forth to school safely. School should be a home away from home that provides kids with education and teaches values with the utmost care. But that care must not only be restricted within the four corners of the classroom but also translate during after-school hours and dismissal.