“Wow, it’s so pretty,” declared one small girl as she walked into the new Colonial Beach Elementary School for the first day of the 2017-2018 school year.
The bright sunny Tuesday morning opening of Colonial Beach Public Schools went off with few adjustments needed. As students exited their buses behind the high school and split into the two buildings the smiles were infectious.
Only one glitch with the buses, which was taken care of on day two, happened when one road was missed. Not only did students come in by bus, but many by car and even some walking. Even though all the children have been on the First Street campus for several years it is only recently that controversy over students crossing the street at the school has come to the forefront.
With no sidewalks on the streets approaching the school students are forced to walk on the edge of the road. At several recent council meetings discussion over the lack of sidewalks and crossing guards has been mentioned. Due to the drainage issues in the area sidewalks are unlikely to ever become a part of First Street.
In the past, at the former Elementary School site, the school had crossing guards. However, with the move the number of children walking has dropped immensely.
Talk over training volunteers to help children cross the street has taken place. Starting this week Colonial Beach Police Department will have an officer in the area as children come into school in the morning to facilitate crossing. Local residents are asked to be mindful of children walking to and from school. It would also be wise to avoid the area of the school before classes and directly after them.
Principal Michele Coates said, at the September School board meeting, that they figured out the need to slightly adjust the planned school lunch times. The new cafeteria sparkled as the students ate breakfast there for the first time.
Again this year all students at CBPS are able to eat breakfast and lunch for free as part of a Federal grant. The school is also participating in the dinner program after school. Students 18 and under can eat dinner for free.