SCCPSS officials answer your questions before the first day of school

Back To School

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Students across Chatham County will head back to school in less than two weeks on August 5.

To prepare for the first day, WSAV Digital Reporters Jon Dowding and Ashley Williams asked Savannah-Chatham County Public School (SCCPSS) officials some of the questions you had ahead of the new school year.

Don’t forget to visit the Ready Set Go Back to School Expo on Saturday, August 3 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Civic Center where SCCPSS officials will be available to answer any other questions you may have.

Transportation:

Senior Director of Transportation for SCCPSS Carol Valentine says over 422 buses will start driving on practice runs next week in order to be ready for the first day.

Although bus routes will be available for parents online on Monday, July 29, Valentine warns parents to pay attention to any updates from the district during the month of August. Many routes may update or change pick-up locations during the first month of school due to late student registrations.

Deanna Hall, SCCPSS Director of Benefits and Compensation, mentioned that applications for people interested in becoming bus drivers are reviewed by human resource professionals for at least the minimum qualifications.

Following the interview process, bus drivers have to be fingerprinted, drug tested and background checked, Hall told News 3.

Nutrition/Lunch Menu Updates:

Oretha Bonaparte with SCCPSS said that there are a number of new menu items coming to local schools this year — and the students themselves were able to offer their valued input.

“We try to add new menu items that students have not had a chance to experience,” Bonaparte said.

Parents should also be aware that the school lunch prices increase to $3 this year, the first time in five years that the school district has raised the price.

“One of the things that drives the meal prices is the cost of food,” Bonaparte said. “The cost of an orange five years ago is not the same price as it is now.”

Lunch prices will remain the same for free and reduced students.

Academic Affairs:

Supply lists for students are available online on the school district’s website as well as at various retailers across Savannah, explained Dr. Vallerie Cave with the Department of Academic Affairs.

Take a look at this article to learn more about how to save money during this Back to School season.

Dr. Cave also said that the district is not changing its immunization policies as Georgia experiences the largest number of measles cases in many years. Students are required to have two MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) shots before the age of seven.

Learn more about how to protect your child against measles here.

School Safety:

Capt. Rob Rodriguez of the Savannah-Chatham Board of Education Police Department spoke with WSAV News 3 about campus police and how they work to protect children at all local schools.

One policy that parents should keep in mind heading into the new school year is the continuing policy of having to bring clear or mesh backpacks on campus.

“It’s been a board policy for years that a child has to have either a clear backpack or a mesh backpack,” Rodriguez said. “And that’s just a safety precaution. So, you never know what may happen.”

Rodriguez added that it not only prevents students from taking inappropriate items onto campus, but it helps prevent them from being falsely accused of theft by other classmates since the backpacks allow the contents to be on full display.

He mentioned that officers work to help prevent fights and other issues among students, and their training as police officers better prepares them to protect children in schools.

“Parents want to make sure that their son or daughter gets to the school, has no issues while at school, and goes home safely at the end of the day and makes it to the house,” Rodriguez said, adding that some parents also worry about traditional or cyberbullying.

“We recognize that because we’re parents too. Our children go to the same schools and we live in the same community,” Rodriguez told News 3.

Operation Beacon Volunteer Program:

Schools all across Savannah are looking for volunteers to help with the Operation Beacon Volunteer Project.

Community Engagement Liaison Gloria Brack says the project provides volunteers with a variety of tasks to help students, teachers and administrators.

Enrollment in the program is easy – interested volunteers can apply through app-garden and follow the steps to become a volunteer.

For more back-to-school information for SCCPSS, visit here.

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