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Howard County's Back to School Guide

Tips for parents and residents gearing up for the first day.

Howard County public schools start , and that means everyone in the community needs to be prepared.

Here are some tips for getting back into the swing of the school year:

TRAFFIC

"We expect all of the school zones to be busy," said Sherry Llewellyn, spokeswoman for the Howard County Police Department (HCPD).

"Drivers should drive slowly and re-accustom themselves to the traffic patterns that exist during the school year," added Llewellyn.

For the first two weeks of school,  Two speed camera vans will move daily to school zones around the county.

SCHOOL BUSES

Not sure when to stop if there's a school bus nearby?

Yellow lights mean slow down and prepare to stop.

Red flashing lights and a stop sign extending from the bus means drivers in both directions are required to stop; this includes vehicles across a double yellow line, according to the Maryland Department of Transportation.

"Officers in covert vehicles will follow school buses to watch for drivers who fail to stop," said Llewellyn. "The fine for this violation is $570."

The exception for stopping is if there is a median. In that case, only vehicles in the direction of traffic the bus is going must stop.

Have a little one riding the bus? Find your student's school bus using the Howard County Public School System's bus locator.

STUDENT JITTERS

Ease children's fears of the unknown, such as new buildings or bus rides, by roleplaying the situation in advance, advises Parents magazine. If students are concerned about being away from parents or getting overwhelmed, assure them you will see them at a specific time and point out there will be time for fun things after school, says Parents.

Encourage doing homework as soon as school gets out “so it’s finished and out of the way,” Sarah Russo of the Elkridge library told The Baltimore Sun. Using assignment books and organizers is also helpful, said Russo. As a free resource, the Howard County Library offers online homework help from 2 to 11:55 p.m.

HCPSS BY THE NUMBERS

There will be 50,932 students enrolled systemwide, an increase of nearly 450 students over last year's enrollment, according to the Howard County Public School System.

The school system said it hired 315 new teachers to fill positions and accommodate the growth. 

Find start times and other school-specific info on the Howard County Public School System's website.

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