Back to school safety reminders

This article, from September 9, has important information for students, parents, and commuters as a new school year is upon us.

City of Hamilton Roadside Safety

Hello Ward 8 Neighbours,

With students heading back to school over the last week, the City of Hamilton is reminding us all about the importance of slowing down and avoiding distractions while on your morning commute.

For more details, please continue reading below…

Back to School: Road Safety reminder for parents, students and commuters

The full City of Hamilton press release can be found here.

HAMILTON, ON – As students begin to return to school, the City of Hamilton and Hamilton Police Services are reminding residents about the importance of taking extra safety precautions during their commute and sharing some updates for back to school planning.

Motorists
Motorists are reminded to slow down and avoid distractions while driving in case a child darts out into their path. Using the phone, eating, or sipping your coffee will affect your reaction time.

Stop when approaching a school bus that is displaying flashing red lights and an extended stop arm. Traffic in both directions must stop while the bus loads or unloads passengers and may only continue when the lights stop flashing.

Cyclists and Pedestrians
All cyclists under the age of eighteen years are required by law to wear a helmet while riding or operating a bicycle. Helmets only protect if they fit snugly and are worn correctly.

Pedestrians are reminded to put away electronic devices, cellphones and take out ear buds so they can easily hear and see approaching traffic.

Pedestrians walking to and from school with friends are also reminded to keep a physical distance of at least two metres from others unless they are household members or in their social circle of 10. Where keeping a physical distance is difficult, consider wearing a mask or face covering.

School Zones
As part of Vision Zero’s goal to eliminate serious injury and fatalities for all road users, the City of Hamilton is reducing speed limits on a neighbourhood basis as part of its three-year neighbourhood speed reduction project. Motorists are reminded that neighbourhood streets are reduced to 40 km/hr and school zones are reduced to 30 km/hr.

Parents picking up or dropping off children are asked to follow all posted signage to avoid fines. Most school areas have No Stopping and No Parking zones that are to be kept clear for safe access by pedestrians, and to allow school buses or other school vehicles to safely unload student passengers.

School Crossing Guards
The City of Hamilton School Crossing Guard Reference Guide has been updated to include new COVID-19 specific precautions including the self assessment tool and mask guidelines.

School crossing guards are positioned in school zones across the city to help students safely cross the street. Drivers and pedestrians should follow the directions of crossing guards at all times. By law, motorists must wait for the pedestrians and the crossing guard to reach the other side of the roadway before proceeding.

If a school crossing guard is not at their usual location, call 905-546-2200 immediately. In the meantime, ask the school principal or teachers for assistance.

Parking Enforcement
Hamilton Municipal Parking System (HMPS) will continue parking enforcement at one school per day with a focus on schools with a high number of parking complaints and safety issues between 2019 and 2020.

Tentative target locations include: Queen Mary, Gatestone, Glen Echo, W. H. Ballard, George Armstrong, Adelaide Hoodless, Norwood Park and St. Matthews.

Walking School Bus
City staff, Councillors, school board officials and school staff have been engaged in a pilot for a walking school bus lead by paid City staff. Pilot locations are, G.L. Armstrong and Sacred Heart. The pilot was planned to begin in 2020 but given the current circumstances it was decided to move it to 2021.

HSR
School Extras schedules have shifted to accommodate back to school plans from our local school boards. Both public and catholic boards will have AM School Extras. The public board will have midday service, and the Catholic board will have afternoon School Extra services. For details, visit: https://www.hamilton.ca/hsr-bus-schedules-fares/schedule-routes-maps/pdf-bus-schedules

AM and PM School Extras supporting Catholic boards will begin on September 10th.

AM, MIDDAY and PM School Extras supporting both boards will begin on September 14th.

School Travel Planning
Transportation Planning and Parking (TPP) have been closely monitoring transportation data and movements across Hamilton and the GTHA to help support school re-openings from a transportation perspective.

TPP works with colleagues from across the City to develop unique School Travel Plans for elementary schools. School travel plans focus on school infrastructure improvements, education, community mobilization, encouragement and engineering improvements around school sites. To date, 107 out of 134 elementary schools in Hamilton have school travel plans, and they continue to be updated. TP will be promoting and taking part in International Walk to School Month (IWALK) in October.

School Reopening
Public Health has been in contact with the school boards continuously through the pandemic, and will continue to do as long as required. In order to support a safe return to school and to reduce community spread of COVID-19, the City of Hamilton’s Public Health Services, following the directions and guidelines developed by the Ministry of Health, is committed to ongoing support of schools as they reopen. Public Health’s role is to consult on infection prevention and control measures and policies, provide Public Health nursing staff to work with schools, deliver school training sessions and related education, develop and distribute school and parent resources, advise and support administration on probable and confirmed cases of COVID-19, while also undertaking direct management of cases and contacts, and work with and direct school administration, should an outbreak occur, around enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures, whether additional testing or self-isolation is required for close contacts (e.g. staff/students) and determining if additional protocols are required to be put in place.

In order to support schools and teachers, as well as parents and students, Public Health has launched a section on the City’s website www.hamilton.ca/SchoolReopening. This section has a dedicated page for schools that talks about adjustments to processes, appropriate guidance for the implementation of Public Health measures, as well as supports for mental health and well-being. Also, there is a newly created page for parents that focuses on recommendations and considerations from Public Health, as well as various resources and tools to support children heading back to school in this new reality.

Hamilton Public Health Services, HWCDSB and HWDSCB are committed to providing the residents of Hamilton a safe start to the school year.

Additional Resources:

Questions or concerns?

If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact our office here.