Kelowna RCMP Constable Mike Della-Paolera engages with some kids ahead of the first day of school at Springvalley Elementary on Tuesday morning (Sept. 6) (Photo - Jordy Cunningham/Capital News)

Kelowna RCMP Constable Mike Della-Paolera engages with some kids ahead of the first day of school at Springvalley Elementary on Tuesday morning (Sept. 6) (Photo - Jordy Cunningham/Capital News)

School zone times extended, safety a priority as students return to class in Kelowna

School started across Kelowna on Tuesday, Sept. 6

The streets were filled with excitement, laughter, and smiling faces as kids returned to Kelowna schools on Tuesday morning (Sept. 6).

With the busy streets, there’s a greater importance to safety on and off the road and in the surrounding areas. Capital News caught up with Kelowna RCMP Constable Mike Della-Paolera about school and road safety as the new school year begins.

“It’s the first day back to school and the kids are going to be excited,” said Della-Paolera. “We’re asking parents, drivers: slow down. School zones are in effect from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. most Monday-Fridays for the next 10 months.”

Kelowna is the only district to have the school zones start at 7:30 a.m. Everywhere else is staying at 8 a.m.

Della-Paolera and the RCMP are also urging people to stay away from distracted driving, including being on phones and having pets sit in your lap.

It’s also smart to make a plan ahead of time to avoid rushing in and out of the school zones.

“Give yourself some time,” said Della-Paolera. “The school zones are busy first thing in the morning. Maybe leave a few minutes earlier, maybe pick up your Starbucks after you drop your kids off so there’s no rushing.”

But it’s not just drivers, hundreds of kids across the Kelowna have to take precaution when they’re walking and biking to school.

“Parking your car across the street from your elementary school to pick up your young one, that’s going to prompt them to run across the street without checking both ways,” said Della-Paolera. “If the kids are really small, maybe get out and walk them across the street as they learn the rules of the road and how to cross the street safely.”

And all these precautions don’t just apply to elementary school but to kids from all grades, including those in high school who will be able to drive either now or as the school year goes on.

“First time drivers [with their] N’s, they’ll be excited,” said Della-Paolera. “We were all kids at one time and we’re not paying attention to everything else happening around us. Be alert, drive without any distractions, and watch for the kids. This is a time you don’t want to have a bad memory so drive safely, [and] follow the rules of the road that you were taught recently in the driving lessons.

It’s a new school year and every kid wants to make the most of it.

“Make good memories,” said Della-Paolera. “We want 10 months of a happy time at school, enjoying ourselves, learning, positive relationships, positive days at school so drive safe and enjoy your next 10 months.”

READ MORE: Okanagan motorists use caution as students return to school

READ MORE: Naramata home destroyed by fire


@cunninghamjordy
jordy.cunningham@kelownacapnews.com

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