The East Grand Rapids crossing guards are excited and ready for the upcoming school year! During their annual training this August, the guards not only went over the usual protocols, but also reviewed their COVID-19 procedures and the EGRPS Return to Learning plan.
This year, guards will practice social distancing and continue to wear the flashing vests implemented in 2019 to ensure visibility in the early mornings. Additionally, as middle school students will be participating in-person for half days, guards will be out on the intersections of Lake Drive and Breton Road as well as Lake Drive and Kenesaw Drive at the lunch hour.
Just as many of us experienced missing basic human interaction throughout the Stay at Home order, the guards expressed how much they look forward seeing the children of EGR and catching up with them.
“We love being here for the kids and it’s extremely rewarding to give back to the community in this way,” said Jean Timmer, crossing guard supervisor. “We’ve discussed our COVID-19 protocols at length and just as always, we’re prepared to help students through rain, shine, hail and snow — pandemic or not.”
Ahead of the new year, our crossing guards remind parents, students, drivers and pedestrians alike of the following key tips:
- Safety is a community effort — everyone must pay close attention to the road.
- If no crossing guard is present, always make eye contact with the pedestrian or driver to ensure you both know when it’s safe to cross the street.
- Walk bikes across the street rather than ride them and always wear a helmet.
- Obey the “no turn on right” signs at red lights during school hours.
- Always cross at an intersection — it can be difficult for drivers to see pedestrians crossing elsewhere in the neighborhoods and through Gaslight Village due to parallel parking.
- Stay alert and off your phone. If you are listening to music, make sure that it is either at a level you can hear traffic or that you only have one earbud in.
- Do not continue driving until all pedestrians have safely reached the sidewalk.
- As it gets darker in the mornings and afternoons, pedestrians and bikers should wear reflective clothing so you are easily visible.
- If you need to get to get somewhere quickly in the morning, around noon or mid-afternoon, avoid driving through East Grand Rapids entirely. Check eastgr.org/construction for construction updates.
- Sun will impact east-bound drivers’ vision at the beginning of the school year and again in the spring — please exercise extra caution during these times.
- Please respect crossing guard protocol — it may take a couple extra minutes, but it provides a safe commute for the children of EGR.
A program run by the department Public Safety, the crossing guards work closely with both the City and EGRPS to help guide students. At the beginning of each year, the schools request which intersections they wish to have guards posted. A list of these stations can be found at eastgr.org/safety along with additional walking, biking and moped videos and safety tips.
Ensuring students have a safe commute to and from school is a top priority for both the City and EGRPS. Students are encouraged to talk with their crossing guards as well as School/Community Liaison Officer Collin Wallace about these safety measures.
Anyone interested in becoming a crossing guard should call the department at 616.949.7010.