In less than three days, Bay County students will head back to school. And several will take the bus first thing in the morning, so keeping kids safe on the bus is a top priority.
They're hoping between law enforcement, bus drivers and parents, it will be a smooth ride to safety.
"The safety of those student is paramount and we would like for parents to help us out as much as possible because law enforcement is doing everything they possibly can to monitor our kids. We're doing everything we can to monitor them. And if parents can help us out, we think that the three of us working collectively will do a very good job at keeping our kids safe," says Ken Phillips, the transportation director for Bay District Schools.
Transportation officials urge parents to wait with their kids until the buses arrive and watch their students get on the bus. Keep in mind, if you have a pre-k or 4-year old student, you are required to pick them up. Although its not a requirement, wearing a seat belt is highly recommended. Students are asked to stand at least ten feet away from the bus so the driver can see you. For car drivers, law enforcement says is law to stop with when the stop sign is extended, and use extra caution on busy roads like 23rd Street and Highway 98.
"Obviously there is no division there. There is no barrier there, so any vehicle on 23rd Street or Highway 98, pretty much within the city limits, unless they're on the bridge, pretty much if a school bus is topped, your 're going to have to stop for it," says Jeff Rogers with the Panama City Police Department.
Law enforcement wants to remind everyone to follow the instructions of the crossing guards as well. Bay District Schools head back Monday, August 20th.