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The beginning of any new school year is often a mixer of emotions. It’s a time of excitement, anticipation and nerves.

That probably hasn’t changed much, but over the past two years these feelings have been heightened as a result of the pandemic.

While many post-secondary students had to deal with remote learning and online classes, at the elementary and high school level students on PEI were able to return to the classroom and, for the most part, Island parents didn’t have to deal with online learning.

There were concerns over masking and cohorting and if these measures would keep both students and staff safe.

Fortunately, PEI was successful in having a complete 2020-2021 school year with very little interruptions. That couldn’t be said for other jurisdictions in Canada.

Parents are once again preparing to send their children back to Island schools, and, like last year, there’s a lot of anticipation on just how this new year will unfold. There’s probably a lot of anxiety right now, so let’s not add to those worries when Island children return to school this week.

Ever school year there are, unfortunately, media reports of vehicles passing school buses when they have their red lights flashing, endangering the children on board.

All drivers should know the rules around school buses. If not, here is a reminder.

Drivers travelling in both directions must stop for a school bus with its red lights are flashing. Drivers should stop a safe distance from the bus and refrain from moving forward until the red lights have stopped flashing and the bus begins to move. Drivers should also prepare to stop when a school bus is flashing their amber lights.

Failing to stop for a school bus when the red lights are flashing will lead to a deduction of 12 demerit points, resulting in license suspension for three months. This is in addition to a fine of up to $5,000.

School zones are also back into play. Drivers should remember to reduce their speed in these areas and should know speeding infractions in designated school zones carry double the fine amounts.

As students return to school in a year once again full of uncertainty, let’s do all we can to make sure it’s a a happy and safe one.

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