The first day of school could best be described as organized bedlam. School personnel and Oakdale police officers were out in force on Tuesday, Aug. 11 to help keep safety a priority and the chaos to a minimum as parents ushered their children onto school campuses all around town.
The Oakdale schools were ready to accept the students to kick off the school year but pedestrian and auto traffic nearly overwhelmed the streets in front of each school. The first day of school is always hectic, but this year most of the school bussing in the city limits had to be eliminated from the school district budget, leaving more parents to drive their children to school or have them walk. School crossing guards in front of campus and extra police patrols helped pedestrians and drivers operate safely.
School district and police officials are cautioning motorists to be extra careful around school zones and crosswalk areas, especially along F Street, as there will be more students walking to school than in the past. A shortage of volunteer crossing guards along the F Street corridor also increases the risks for pedestrians and motorists.
Before school started, there were “Round Ups” for new students at the junior high and high school levels, but Kindergarten round ups were implemented for the past couple of years as well.
Typically, the Kindergarten round up has been a paid teacher workday. However, due to budget cuts, this year the teachers did the Kindergarten round ups on their own time because of the difference it makes for the students.
Cloverland Kindergarten teacher Sue Moran reported that the Kindergarten round ups really help the children get acquainted with the classroom and the teacher.
“I haven’t had any tears (on the first day) the last two years,” she said.