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SDOT urges drivers to use caution as students go back to school

Seattle Public Schools is also implementing robust COVID-19 safety protocols for every school.

SEATTLE — Officials at the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) are reminding drivers that, starting Wednesday, they will be sharing the road with children as Seattle Public Schools begins the new year.

SDOT said they are working with police to manage safety cameras, which also turn on in school zones on Wednesday.

"I know, with the pandemic, you know, traffic has been quite less, but now it's starting to pick up because kids are now back going back to school. So, just always be alert and just pay attention when you're on the road," said Mariam Ali with SDOT. 

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Ali said the department took the time during the pandemic to complete 29 Safe Routes to School projects like raising walkways or installing new walk signals. 

Funds for these projects come from $1,000 grants that organizations or school committees can apply for. 

This year, because of the pandemic, SDOT is keeping the application process for the grants open all year. 

The goal is to make it easier and safer for kids to get to school. 

Every high school student is given a free Orca card and encouraged to use public transportation when possible. 

For younger children, SDOT advises parents to talk to their kids about safety. For example, students should be aware of things like looking both ways at crosswalks and practicing a backup route to school if they encounter issues on their normal route. 

Still, Ali said that safety starts with everyone behind the wheel. 

"Those kids, they're our future. So, let's just make sure they're safe on the roads in our streets. So, just to drive the speed limit, obey the signs and just be careful."