CHARLOTTE -- While students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools still have one more week of summer, bus drivers hit the roads Monday doing dry runs of their new routes. School officials say these practice runs are helpful for both the bus drivers and the community to get ready for the new school year.
"I guess summer's over and school's starting and some other schools are starting up and people are getting ready,” said rising CMS fifth grader Cassidy Petrykowski after seeing several yellow school buses on the road Monday.
Every day this week, CMS bus drivers will be back to the grind with more than 950 buses rolling out for practice runs.
"They do the dry runs because they want to make sure they know where they're going so on the first day of school they can time when they will arrive based on the schedule of the bus run,” said Devery Peterson, a safety and training specialist for CMS.
But this week also helps school bus safety. Firstly, giving drivers a visible reminder to be aware and cautious around the buses.
"The public has gotten used to over the last couple months not seeing the buses on the roadways, especially early in the morning. So this is also a good help for the public to get used to saying, 'hey we're back in school, we're going to be in your neighborhoods, we're going to be on the streets,'” said Peterson.
CMS recommends parents educate their children on safety tips. Cassidy Petrykowski knows one by heart.
"To check both ways, so no cars come, to not cross in front of the bus unless it has the sign up,” she said.
As far as on the bus, children will have assigned seats but parents need to reiterate the importance of staying in their seat and talking quietly to those around them.
"The driver has to focus on the children on the bus and also the surroundings, as far as driving. So they want to make sure the children try to minimize any distractions or disruptions on the bus,” said Peterson.
With school starting next week, they say everyone needs to start practicing these tips this week.
"She travels a long way on the bus so it's very important that she's safe and that the bus driver looks out for the kids and pays attention,” said Jennifer Petrykowski, Cassidy's mom.
Bus drivers will be performing these dry runs all week, and will be out from 5 a.m. until 1 p.m. The first day of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is next Monday, Aug. 27.