CANORA - Canora Composite School will soon be starting a school safety patrol program.
The plan is for training of Grade 5 safety patrollers to begin Feb. 27, with the goal that patrols will begin shortly after training is complete.
Principal Kim Eiteneier said the school decided to take this step in order to “control the public drop off and pickup zones to increase safety of our students during the times of exiting and entering of our buses.”
CCS School Community Council has been working with Tracey Bletsky, co-ordinator for Saskatchewan In-motion School Travel Safety program, since 2017. Over the years, she has collaborated with CCS as well as Canora Junior Elementary School Community Councils to bring forth concerns over the pedestrian and student safety in and around school zones. Bletsky has worked with RCMP, Town of Canora, and many volunteers over the years to identify risks and provide possible solutions.
“Each year, issues arise and we do our best to increase awareness and provide some guidance towards making the school zones and parking lots safer,” said Bletsky.
After the success of the CAA Safety Patrol Program at CJES run by the Grade 4 students each year, now CCS has decided to take the opportunity to extend the training to the Grade 5 students.
“A number of those Grade 5 students have previous safety patrol experience from Grade 4,” observed Bletsky.
These patrollers will be monitoring and assisting students that are exiting CCS at the school’s south entrance – referred to as the Elementary Wing doors – as they cross the parking lot and meet their rides on Third Street.
“The goal is to reduce the vehicle traffic in and around the back of the school bus lineup and parking lot,” explained Bletsky. “Parents and/guardians can park along Third Street and our patrollers will assist with guiding students to use the crosswalk areas to safely exit the school grounds.”
The staff parking lot on the West side of CCS is often a busy place.
“It’s utilized as a bus loading and unloading zone in the morning and after school,” said Bletsky. “Mixed with teachers and staff members coming and going, that parking lot tends to be congested enough. During peak times such as after school, there are many students of all ages exiting the school through multiple doors and heading towards the buses, parents and guardians waiting in vehicles, heading downtown to the rink or to homes within walking distance of the school.”
The school has a designated crosswalk through the parking lot that lines up with the rear of the last bus in the loading zone.
“With the help from Good Spirit School Division, we were able to procure some cement pillars that outline the crosswalk with some new signage and a designated area for students to wait until they can be picked up from Third Street,” she said.
“We encourage students to exit the parking lot by way of the cemented crosswalk area. There are numerous younger students who also exit the school on the south side, straight out from the elementary wing doors and then they head directly to Third Street. This has been an uncontrolled four-way corner with vehicles travelling in all directions. Our new safety patrol program is aimed towards organizing the flow of pedestrians in and around the southern parking lot entrance.”
Bletsky reminds motorists that “the west parking lot is a one way only – northbound. This means all traffic should enter from the south side and continue to exit out the north side – especially during school hours. When vehicles make a turn around behind the buses and then exit out the south entrance, it adds even more congestion, confusion and potential danger for students trying to exit the school grounds.”
Parents and guardians are reminded that they may utilize the parking lot on the east side of the school to pick up students. This parking lot is typically used for student parking and public parking for the Canora Public Library.