New Lenox Fire Protection District
In-Person Learning Back to School Safety
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By Public Education Coordinator Jackie O'Hara
October 13, 2020

Manhattan, IL - In-person learning is back in session for Manhattan public and private schools. Let’s remember that everyone plays a role in making it a safe and successful school year for students, teachers and parents by following these safety tips.

Safety During COVID Times

In-Person Learning:

- Send a couple of masks to school with your student. Sometimes, changing out to a fresh clean mask, will help them.
- Remind your students to wash their hands often with soap and water and to only use hand sanitizer when they can’t get to the bathroom to wash.
- Wash the masks as soon as they get home so they are ready for the next day.

Remote Learning:

When continuing school work from home, more family members are now online, watching television, and using appliances all at once, and for longer periods of time.

This new approach to working/schooling, while keeping us safer from the virus, also presents challenges related to electrical systems in houses and apartments. To help reduce your risk of electrical fires as you work from home, Manhattan Fire District and National Fire Protection Association recommends the following actions:

- Check electrical cords to make sure they are not running across doorways or under carpets where they are can get damaged.
- Never put more than one plug in each receptacle. An outlet may have one or more receptacles – one to receive each plug.
- Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture. Check the sticker on the lamp to determine the maximum wattage light bulb to use.
- Light bulbs in the living area of your home should have a shade or globe for protection. Light bulbs can get very hot and cause a fire if something that can burn is too close to the bulb.
- Heat-producing appliances such as a toaster, coffee maker, iron, or microwave draw a lot of electricity. Plug only one heat-producing appliance in each outlet to prevent wiring from overheating.
- Make sure all smoke alarms are working.
- Practice a fire drill at home to make sure everyone knows what to do and where to go if there was a fire.

Sharing the Road Safely with School Buses:

School buses are one of the safest forms of transportation on the road today. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, riding a bus to school is 13 times safer than riding in a passenger vehicle and 10 times safer than walking to school. The reality of school bus safety is that more children are hurt outside the bus than inside as passengers. Most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related crashes are pedestrians, four to seven years old, who are hit by the bus or by motorists illegally passing a stopped school bus. DO NOT pass a school bus if the lights are flashing and the stop sign is out. Stay alert and stay off your cell phone so you won’t be distracted. It is illegal in Illinois to be on your cell phone or texting in your vehicle! Know where your school zones start and end.

If Your Child Takes the Bus To School:

Teach your child to arrive at the bus stop early, stay out of the street, wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before approaching the street and watch for cars. Avoid the bus driver’s blind spot. The 10-foot radius around the bus is called the Danger Zone. If a child drops something in this area, tell the bus driver immediately. Children should remain seated at all times and keep their hands and arms inside the bus.

If Your Child Walks to School:

Plan a route to school and walk the route with your child beforehand. Teach them never to talk to strangers. Have your child walk with a sibling, friend or neighbor.

If You Drive Your Child to School:

Make sure they wear their seatbelts the entire time they are in the vehicle, even if you are waiting in line to drop them off. Any child under the age of 13 years old is safer sitting in the back seat. Make sure your child is in the proper child safety seat for their age, weight and height.

If Your Child Rides Their Bike to School:

Have them follow all traffic signs and stop at all intersections before crossing the street. Make sure they wear their helmets. Research indicates that a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by up to 85 percent.

Fore more safety tips, visit

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