CHAMPAIGN — This week marks the start of school for many local students, which has local police reminding motorists to watch out for students and mind local school zones.
Today is the first day of school for many first- through ninth-grade students Champaign school district students, with the rest of the high-schoolers starting Tuesday, half the kindergartners starting Tuesday and half the kindergartners starting Wednesday.
Many Urbana school district students return Tuesday, although sophomores, juniors and seniors start Wednesday. Half the district's kindergartners will start Tuesday and half start Wednesday.
Champaign schools spokeswoman Stephanie Stuart said the district is excited to welcome back its staff and students.
"For the first day of school especially, we ask that community members pay special attention during their morning and afternoon commutes, as our students will be walking to and from school as well as waiting at bus stops," Stuart said.
Champaign police will have what they call radar trailers in various school zones throughout the city to remind drivers about speed limits within them. The trailers show drivers how fast they're going.
Champaign police officers will also be monitoring traffic at or near school zones to make sure drivers are following speed zone limits.
The Champaign police department is reminding drivers that between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. on days when school is in session, a driver must stop all cell phone communications, yield to anyone in a crosswalk and slow to 20 miles per hour.
Speeding in a school zone can result in a $150 fine, according to a news release from the Champaign police department.
The police department is also reminding pedestrians to cross only at designated intersections and crosswalks, and only when they have the right of way.
Pedestrians shouldn't suddenly run or walk into the path of a moving vehicle.
Neighborhood traffic concerns may be submitted online at http://bit.ly/neighborhoodtraffic.
This school year again also includes some elementary building changes as Champaign renovates its elementary schools.
Students at Westview Elementary in Champaign will move back into their renovated building. The school spent last year at the former Carrie Busey building on Kirby Avenue. Students who attend Bottenfield Elementary will be doing so at that Kirby Avenue building this year while their building on Prospect Avenue is renovated.