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Safety Policies & Procedures

Safe Routes to Walter Hays

Traffic Safety

Playground Supervision: is provided after 8:10 a.m. Students should not be left at school before that time.

Adult Traffic Patrol Guards: begin supervision at 8:15 guiding students at the Middlefield & Embarcadero and Newell & Embarcadero intersections.

Because accidents involving motor vehicles and child pedestrians are the leading cause of death for children aged 5-12 in California, we ask everyone to help us prevent traffic accidents involving children near Walter Hays School. Parents can help by keeping the safety of all children in mind when planning their child's route to and from school. Traffic congestion in the parking lot and neighborhood streets can be alleviated if everyone who can walk, bike, roller blade, carpool or take the bus to school, does so whenever possible. If children must be driven, avoid congestion by arriving a few minutes early and park on Middlefield Road, if necessary. If you're running late, please don't try to make up time in the school area.

Whatever route you choose, help safeguard your children by teaching them the basics of traffic safety and accompanying them until you are confident that they can negotiate the route safely alone. Remember that your actions as a pedestrian, cyclist, or driver speak louder than any formal instruction in traffic safety ever can!

Bicycle Safety

Students in the 3rd grade and above may ride bikes, unaccompanied, to school. All 3rd graders will receive basic bike safety training in the fall. Following basic traffic rules (e.g. stopping at stop signs, riding on the right, not darting out of driveways) will prevent most bicycle accidents for young riders. We urge parents to determine that their children are competent riders who follow the rules of the road before permitting them to ride unaccompanied to school, regardless of age. For safety's sake, bicycles must be walked on school grounds and in crosswalks. Bikes should be locked to the racks. Invest in a strong lock (we recommend a kryptonite type), to guard against lock cutting devices.

All cyclists under the age of 18 are required by state law to wear protective helmets. Bike licenses are required for all bikes ridden on Palo Alto streets, and are available from city fire stations from 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. daily.

The school is not responsible for theft, damaged or vandalized personal property.

Parking Lot Safety

The Walter Hays parking was, unfortunately, not designed to accommodate our current enrollment. In fact, it can only handle about 8 vehicles loading & unloading at a time. To maintain a safe environment, all parents must adhere to the following rules:

  1. Parking along the red loading & unloading curb between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. daily, 2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. daily except Wednesday, and 1:15 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. on Wednesday for any reason is prohibited and is a ticketable offense. During these hours, this area is for loading & unloading children only. Violators jeopardize student safety. Traffic must be able to flow steadily through the lot area to avoid back-ups that block Middlefield Road.
  2. Do not form a double line of cars in the "Keep Clear" lane. Children must not walk between idling or creeping vehicles to reach the curb.
  3. If red "loading & unloading" curb space is occupied by vehicles, exit lot cautiously in the "keep clear" lane and loop around until curb space becomes less congested.
  4. On rainy days, the parking lot is particularly congested. Please be patient and allow a lot of extra time. Please arrange for another meeting place if at all possible.
  5. Pull all the way over to the red loading & unloading zone curb before allowing your child to get out of the car.
  6. Load and unload on the right side of the car only.
  7. If you park in one of the unmarked spaces near the exit side of the lot, make sure your child uses the pathway around the perimeter of the lot to get to or from your car. Walking across the lot is unsafe.
  8. Should you wish to accompany your child to school, park along Middlefield Road or Hopkins Avenue (bordering Rinconada Park).
  9. When exiting the lot, observe the "no left turn between 8:00-8:30 a.m and 2:30-3:15 p.m." sign, to avoid backups. Violation of this is a ticketable offense.
  10. Areas of the parking lot marked "bus zone", "staff", "handicapped" are to be used for those purposes only

Emergency/Disaster Procedures

In the event of an emergency, Walter Hays staff will follow Palo Alto Unified School District procedures. Each classroom is equipped with a red Backpack containing a class roster, and a disaster release tag for each child. In addition, the backpack contains basic first aid and emergency materials.

In addition, we have a site emergency supply kit that contains water, food, extensive first aid supplies, splints, blankets, cold packs, flashlights, tarps, and other important emergency supplies. We are prepared to care for the children until you or your designee can come to the campus.

Please note that in the event of an emergency your child will only be released to you or to the person or persons you have indicated on your yellow disaster tag. Please be sure to keep this information current.

  1. Report to the Command Center to complete a Release Request slip for your child and for other children for whom you are responsible.
  2. School staff will bring your child to the Command Center.

We ask for your cooperation with this procedure so that we can keep track of our students' whereabouts at all times.