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Students cross by a bus in Beatrice last year. The 2019-2020 school year starts on Tuesday, August 13.

With area schools back in session soon, officials are asking drivers to pay attention to during their daily commutes.

Beatrice Public Schools is contracted to bus with Mid States bus service. Justin Hardwick, Mid States' location manager, said roughly 950 BPS students will use the bus this year.

Schools start between 8:10-8:20 a.m., with schools opening even earlier to serve breakfast.

This means around 7 a.m., buses will pick up students and students will begin walking to school. It is illegal to pass a school bus that has their stop sign out. 

“When the stop signal’s out, people don’t see any kids and they just assume the kid’s on the bus,” Beatrice police officer Anthony Chisano said. “Any time that that is out, the driver has it out for a reason. There’s somebody out walking around, and everybody just needs to stop driving so the children can get on and off the bus safely.”

Chisano said signal violations are more prevalent on the main streets.

“Which is a problem because that’s the places where it’s the most dangerous for kids and when people need to pay the most attention,” Chisano said.

Due to its location downtown, Beatrice Middle School families can have complications picking up and dropping off students.

Principal John Jarosh said some parents and guardians head north on Fourth Street, turning east into one of the alleys to drop off students. Others park in the First Presbyterian Church parking lot or on the east side of the building.

Jarosh said any of those options are acceptable, but noted that all students will enter the school through the west doors by the gym. This means that cars in one of the alleys should look for students walking.

"If they're dropping off or picking up, we want to remind parents to make sure they pull off to the side, and don't drop them off in the middle of the street," Jarosh said.

The first day of school for kindergarten through ninth grade is Tuesday, Aug. 13, with grades 10-12 starting Wednesday, Aug. 14 and preschool starting Thursday, Aug. 15.

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