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Bethesda Heads Back To School

Westland Middle School will open; Bradley Hills Elementary still without power.

Update, 6:10a.m.: Westland Middle School will open for school today. However, MCPS has announced that is without power and will be closed. Bradley Hills is an addition to the list of schools without power announced Sunday.

Original post: Despite power outages in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, many children are heading back to school this morning in Montgomery County. As of Sunday evening, 23 county schools remained without power – including – and Montgomery County Public Schools was set to decide whether those would open by 6a.m. Monday.

Here’s some important safety information to keep in mind, according to Montgomery County Public Schools and Montgomery County Police.

Keep on the lookout for the 163 crossing guards dressed in bright yellow reflective safety vests working near elementary and middle schools countywide to help children get across the street safely. In addition, about 6500 student safety patrols selected by teachers and principals will be helping the crossing guards in keeping student pedestrians safe. These students will be wearing bright yellow belts.

To keep speeding to a minimum, Montgomery County Police are deploying mobile speed-camera vans near schools from 6-8a.m. Monday, along with the 21 stationary speed cameras near schools already in place across the county.

Here are a few other safety tips to keep in mind, according to police and the public school system:

  • Remind student bike riders to obey traffic rules, signs and traffic lights. Children under 18 are required to wear a helmet while on public streets, right-of-ways or paths.
  • Parents should accompany young children to bus stops and stay with their students until the bus arrives. Drivers should remember to stop at least 20 feet away from buses with their stop lights flashing.
  • Expect delays near schools, arrive early, and stick to the speed limit.
  • Drivers who aren’t dropping children off at school may want to adjust their routes or travel times to avoid schools during arrival and dismissal.
  • Do not park illegally. Parking within 20 feet of a crosswalk is illegal and may obstruct visibility for drivers and pedestrians.
  • Children should exit the car onto the sidewalk or the right side of the vehicle. Children should not exit into a traffic lane as it may be dangerous.
  • Remind children to stay alert and look left, right and left again before crossing the street.
  • Pedestrians should avoid talking or texting on cell pones and should not wear headphones while crossing the street.
  • Remember, speeding in a school zone is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and five points on your license. Passing a school bus with flashing red lights is punishable by a fine of $570 and three points on your license, and violating “no Parking, No Stopping and No Standing” signs in school could mean a fine of $50.

Have a happy and safe first day of school!

Are you taking your kids back to school today? Upload your first day photos to this story.

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