As summer winds to a close, it means back to school for millions of children in HOAs across the country. The relaxed summer days of hanging out by the pool or playing on the playground are limited. As the flurry of activity increases and families start adjusting their schedules, now is a great time for the HOA to remind families of some back-to-school safety tips and take steps to prepare the community.
With more children walking to and waiting at bus stops – or even walking or biking to school depending on where your community is located – that means drivers need to be even more alert. Plus, it is still somewhat dark in the early morning making it even more difficult to see. Remind homeowners of posted speed limits within the neighborhood and to be on the lookout for children. Talk to children about looking both ways before crossing the street, staying on the sidewalk, and waiting until the bus comes to a complete stop before trying to get on.
Also, it is important to note that it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus, so drivers should leave extra time during their commute in case they’re following a bus route. The only time it is okay to pass a stopped bus with its lights flashing is when there is a solid median divider between the lanes; otherwise, both lanes of traffic must come to a complete stop.
The HOA should also take the time to evaluate bus stops and sidewalks within the neighborhood for any safety concerns. Make sure trees and bushes are trimmed back and there is nothing obstructing the view of motorists or bus drivers. Repair any cracks in the sidewalk that could be a tripping hazard and make sure street lights stay on until it’s light out.
It can also be a good idea to communicate with local law enforcement or the neighborhood watch to ensure that they are patrolling the area and helping to keep children safe on their way to and from school. Remind students to always report any suspicious people or activities and to stay with an adult or a group of other children instead of walking alone whenever possible.
Celebrate the School Year
A fun way to kick off the new school year is to hold a community celebration. Invite families for a pool party, ice cream party, or barbecue to socialize and have one last hurrah before everyone gets busy with work and school. Have some fun games and activities for kids to play, and consider collecting extra supplies to donate to the local school or students in need. Having a community get-together also allows families to get to know one another and see who their children may have class with, organize carpooling, and ask questions.
Get your HOA community ready to start the school year off right by improving safety and communication. For more support in organizing activities or keeping the neighborhood safe, work with a property management company like Kuester.