Public schools open across Lee County next Thursday.
An estimated 86,000 students, ranging from kindergarten through high school, will return to the classroom as the new school year gets under way.
With a midweek opening, law enforcement and district officials traditionally urge safety first for both children walking to school or waiting at bus stops, and drivers transporting kids or heading to work.
The key tip, officials say each year, is to be aware.
Officials with the Lee County Sheriff's Office and the School District of Lee County annually share a similar message: That drivers should slow down and give themselves extra time, both in the morning and afternoon.
Other safeguards include:
In addition to more pedestrian traffic - little feet on the streets - expect extra vehicles on the road, including school buses making frequent stops beginning next week.
Rules of the road require drivers to stop for a bus that has its flashing red lights on and its stop arm extended unless going the opposite direction on divided roadways.
Watch - and wait - for students crossing as well.
Pay attention to signs, roadway markings, or flashing lights indicating school zones and designated crossing areas. Expect, and compensate for, speed limits that have been adjusted downward during school traffic hours.
This is always good advice, helping us all do our part to make this a safe and productive school year throughout Lee County.
- Citizen editorial