Joplin Schools planning for potential increase in walkers, parents dropping kids off

JOPLIN, Mo. – As we draw closer to the start of school for some students, some districts, like Joplin, are encouraging students to not ride the bus. That could lead to more students walking to school or getting car rides from their parents.

Joplin Schools Director of Facilities Dave Pettit says they will still be providing transportation for students, but they are asking those who can take an alternate way to school to do so to help with social distancing on the busses. With the increase in pedestrian and vehicle traffic, Pettit says the district is making plans now. Director of Facilities Dave Pettit says “We are going to ask folks be patient as we get back and we may have to do some on the fly changes if we see there is any additional problem above what we think could happen.”

Pettit says each school building is different, with unique needs, based on their location. “Each one of the building principals is going to have to assess their particular need, but typically, start of school, it’s all hands on deck, we will have additional staff that will be out there helping direct traffic, making sure that we can answer questions, and if we do end up with a situation that needs to be addressed, we usually jump on that the first day or two.”

Pettit says they have not asked for additional crossing guards from the city at this time, but JPD is making their own plans to ensure students are safe. Captain Will Davis with JPD says “We plan to have traffic officers out there and enforcing those, the traffic laws in those school zones, so yes, we do plan on stepping up enforcement.”

Captain Davis says there is a zero tolerance policy for school zone violations and he wants to remind everybody to play it safe. “Even though you may not have a child going to and from a certain school, please be aware of the schools that are in the areas where you’re going to be driving.”

Davis says they work with each school to monitor for potential problem areas and places where enforcement may need to be stepped up even more.