Delaware News

Lunchroom renovations await Hayes students

New phone system, changes to bus routes among other summer developments at Delaware schools

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Between building construction, summer maintenance, new bus routes and a new phone system, it hasn't been a quiet summer in the Delaware City School District's facilities and transportation department.

In addition to the expansion of Schultz Elementary School and Hayes High School, another major construction project has been ongoing this summer.

The food service department at Hayes received a complete remodeling in order to make room for additional serving lines and seating.

"We wanted to create a school day with only two lunch periods, as opposed to having four lunch periods," said Jason Sherman, director of facilities and transportation. "In order to do that, we had to redo the dining and kitchen area."

New equipment will be installed this week and the area will be repainted before students return to school Wednesday, Aug. 13.

The new Voice Over Internet Protocol phone system also will be up and running by the first day of school, district leaders said.

The VoIP system offers many perks to the district's staff, but officials said families and students won't notice much of a change when they call to speak to someone in the office.

Bus routes and the times and dates of remaining open houses will be posted on the district's website.

New this year, Dempsey Middle School and the high school each will have their own set of buses and will not share routes.

"This should alleviate a lot of traffic in the afternoon because we won't be moving one fleet of buses between the two schools," Sherman said.

"This will also help us solve behavior problems on the buses much quicker, because we won't have to involve administration from multiple schools."

The department also is working on promoting its Safe Routes to School initiative, which encourages those who are not eligible to ride a bus to walk or bike to school.

The department also is making sure sidewalks are adequate and any other barriers students face in order to walk or bike to school can be eliminated.

Students who are not eligible for bus transportation are those who live less than a mile from their school.

"Walking and biking cuts down on traffic and automobile fumes, as well as promote a healthy lifestyle for our students," Sherman said.

Sherman said students and parents should review the bus rules posted online. He said he wants to make sure people are aware of what to do when they see a school bus on the road.

By law, drivers on each side of a two-lane road must stop for school buses picking up or dropping off students. On divided roads, only the lanes traveling in the same direction as the bus must stop.

Parents are encouraged to wait at the bus stop with their students five minutes before their scheduled pickup time.

"Sometimes when students are running late, they are tempted to chase after the bus, and this presents a very dangerous situation," Sherman said. "This could result in injury or death. We just ask them to arrive five minutes early so we can avoid this."

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