Back to the books: New school year gets under way with few problems

August 24, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE |
  • Lochlan Churchey gives her mom, Talitha, a big hug before entering Ruth Ann Monroe Primary School for the first day of school Wednesday.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

WASHINGTON COUNTY — The start of the school year went smoothly for Washington County Public Schools Wednesday morning, according to school officials.

“Everything was great,” school system spokesman Richard Wright said after the school day had come to a close.

A power outage in Hagerstown, from around 6:45 to 7:30 a.m., didn’t delay the start of school, Wright said. The only school system buildings affected by the outage were the central school office off Commonwealth Avenue and Barbara Ingram School for the Arts downtown, he said.

A crack discovered in a wall of Clear Spring High School after the earthquake Tuesday was repaired in time for the school to open as scheduled Wednesday, Wright said.

Water-quality issues experienced on the Brunswick, Md. water system after the quake affected Pleasant Valley Elementary School near the Frederick County line on opening day, but Wright said he doubted any student noticed that modifications had been made to ensure that clean water was available at the school, which opened on time.

Otherwise, some school buses arrived at bus stops a few minutes early or late, which is not unusual on the first few days of school, Wright said.

Parents are advised to have children at bus stops at least five minutes early for the first few days as bus drivers and other motorists get used to traffic, Wright said.

He urged parents to be vigilant with that five-minute rule to avoid their child missing the bus.  For bus schedules, parents can contact their child’s school during the day or visit the school system’s website,, he said.

Schedules are also posted at each school, Wright said.

Drivers are getting used to having buses on the road again so there is more of a traffic delay across the county, Wright said.

In Smithsburg, a traffic light that went up at the start of the last school year on North Main Street was still causing a “fairly large backup” due to the sheer volume of traffic, Smithsburg Police Chief George Knight said.

The traffic signals are at the entrances to Smithsburg Elementary and Smithsburg High schools.

Smithsburg police were allowing the signals to handle traffic, but will monitor the area throughout the school year during the start and end of the school day, Knight said.

Staff Writer Kate S. Alexander contributed to this story.

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