With the new school year kicking off around the state Wednesday, state police at Sidney are urging everyone to support AAA’s annual “School’s Open Drive Carefully” campaign to preserve the safety of children traveling to and from school.

In the city of Norwich, anywhere from 2,500 to 2,700 students will be heading to school, some for the first time. Norwich Police Chief Joseph Angelino said his officers will be out in force over the next few days.

Angelino also wants residents to be aware that because of less school children crossing streets, they now have just three crossing guards in Norwich — one at South Broad and Beebe Ave., another at South Broad and Hale Street, and the third at Midland Drive near Norwich high school and middle school.

The City of Norwich Police Department will be at all city schools to assist with traffic until a routine is established by vehicles and children.

Angelino said the crossing guard at Newton Ave. and North Broad was not needed because few, if any, children are crossing there in recent years.

AAA tips for driving during heavy school traffic:

  • Slow down near schools, bus stops and playgrounds.
  • Obey lower speed limits in school zones.
  • Stop for school buses with flashing red lights and extended stop arms.
  • Never use a handheld cell phone while driving – it’s the law.
  • Drive carefully in bad weather.