|As of Wednesday evening, November 25, Ruth Moyer Elementary's Access Loop is closed.|
November 10 marked the groundbreaking ceremony for Ruth Moyer Elementary's renovation. Anyone who has gone through a home renovation knows this: No matter the outcome, there will be challenges along the way.
"In the last decade we've done an amazing job with our facilities," says Board of Education Chair Karen Allen. "These next 30 months are going to be challenging. Not only for the students and staff, but for our neighbors and community. It's going to require us to have a lot of patience, but in the long run it's really going to pay off."
Yesterday marked the first challenge: The closing of Moyer's Car-Line and Access Loop.
Moyer Principal Dawn Laber recently sent home a letter to Moyer parents and staff detailing the changes. "Dr. Laber provides clear and concise information about what is happening at school," says Moyer parent Mimi Rayner. Starting November 30, no one will be able to enter the school using James Ave., as the loop will be closed to all vehicles except construction traffic.
The letter states, "Per usual, the students are permitted to enter the building at 7:30 am. They will go to the cafeteria from 7:30 am to 7:50 am. Students will be supervised outside from 7:50 am to 8 am when we allow them inside to enter the classrooms. If the temperature is below 32 degrees we will allow them inside and supervise them inside from 7:50 am to 8 am.
"Starting Monday, November 30th designated areas on both sides of Highland Avenue will be open for students who wish to exit the car on their own and enter the building. Parents can pull into any of the open spots and let your kids exit the vehicle. This will be a NO PARKING ZONE during drop-off and pick-up times. Kids must always exit on the sidewalk side."
Measures to help facilitate this are being taken now. "The City of Fort Thomas will be placing signs that restrict parking during certain hours on both sides of Highland Ave. while we are on [Thanksgiving] break to help facilitate this," says Jerry Wissman, Director of Operations for Fort Thomas Independent Schools. "The purpose of this is to create safe drop-off and pick-up zones for students and to facilitate the movement of traffic on Highland Av. during these times. The restricted times will be similar to those in place in front of our other schools, and are roughly 7:30 am to 8:30 am, and 2:15 pm to 3:15 pm."
The letter impressed upon parents the importance of using crosswalks, especially when pulling over across the street from Moyer. "My thoughts: If the adults whom they respect and trust use the crosswalk each time they cross the street the kids will learn to do the same," writes Laber in the letter. "My No. 1 concern is that our kids will get out of a car and run across the street instead of using the crosswalk. Vision will be limited between cars and the street will be extra busy. The crosswalk is imperative during this process and it is the one place that we can control and guarantee crossing safety."
In addition to some of the things mentioned above, Laber's letter also bulleted the following:
• Parents can't leave cars unattended during drop-off and pick-up unloading zone hours.
• Parents can;t pull into Moyer Private Drive to turn around or pick up students.
• Parents should not use James Ave. to park and/or pick up/drop off students as all sidewalks have been removed.
• Any changes in pick-up plans should be discussed with a child's teacher.
A map was also sent home so parents and caregivers could easily determine where to pick up children at the end of the school day.
Walkers (those who walk themselves home or walk to a pre-determined pick-up spot), kindergartners and first graders will leave Moyer at 2:55 pm. Second graders through fifth graders will exit Moyer at 3 pm.
The car line no longer exists. Teachers and staff will no longer be walking students to cars or directing them. In her letter Laber made it very clear that parents and caregivers need to talk to their children and establish a routine.
Students not picked up by 3:15 pm will be brought back into the building. The first few days will likely require patience, so Laber stressed the importance of parents and caretakers giving themselves extra time until a more reliable routine is in place.
Rayner and her family already have one. "We only use the drop off in the morning and walk in the afternoon," Rayner says. "We will leave a little bit earlier and have the kids prepared to move swiftly out of the car. It can be a jumble for five kids. So if you are behind us please have patience."
Once these practices have been in place for a couple weeks, Laber is offering an optional parent meeting on Monday, December 14 at 4:30 pm "to brainstorm ideas for improvement or answer any lingering questions."
For many parents, the closing of Car-Line and the Access Loop is but a small price to pay for Moyer's future. "We have been at Moyer for several years and are prepared to not have a loop again," Rayner says. "Newer families might want to arrive a little earlier and observe the new traffic patterns on Monday. This is just a small adjustment for the great changes happening to the Moyer campus."