The winter darkness is descending, and to help students stay safe on their way to class, Nome Public Schools passed out flashing reflector lights yesterday at Nome Elementary School.
Superintendent Shawn Arnold handed out the blinking blue keychain lights to arriving students, along with School Board President Barb Amarok and Principal Kevin Theonnes.
Arnold said this is the first time the district has provided battery-powered reflectors as part of its safety campaign, “Be Safe. Be Smart. Be Seen.” In the past, students just got reflective tape. And although that’s coming too, Arnold said it’s important to keep building a safer environment — especially with half of Nome Elementary students walking to school each day.
There haven’t been any accidents or injuries, but Arnold said there are close calls when drivers struggle to see students in the dark. That’s why the district has teamed up with Nome Eskimo Community to add a crosswalk outside the elementary school.
“We’ve been working on a safe schools project — hoping to get better lighting around the schools, develop a regular crosswalk that’s well-lit, and have someone out working that crosswalk,” said Arnold.
After working on the project for the past few years, Arnold said they hope to install the new crosswalk next summer.
Until then, any students who didn’t grab a reflector keychain can pick one up at Nome Elementary’s front office.