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As school year begins, expect different bus patterns, more teen drivers, kids walking

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News (file photo)

Getting children to school safely is one of the more complex issues schools face as they open up in the coming weeks. That means the annual school safety message looks a little different.

Every year, AAA of Western and Central New York, along with law enforcement and school officials, holds a series of “School’s Open-Drive Carefully” campaigns, usually with a backdrop of school buses.  This year there were only pictures of buses behind officials during a virtual warning about the differences motorists will notice this year. State police spokesman James O’Callaghan said different schools with different schedules will put kids and buses in places they haven’t been in the past.

"We have a lot of kids who are either walking to school or not going to school because of hybrid or partial-hybrid learning,” O’Callaghan said. “You’re going to see kids out a lot longer and jostling times.”

AAA President Tony Spada also said to expect more teen drivers on the road, as school bus capacity is limited.

Officials are urging motorists to show extra caution, be aware of different bus patterns, and know that children could be playing near or in the street when they might normally be in a school building. Police agencies will also continue ticketing drivers that pass stopped school buses.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.