Lewiston-Auburn educators are reminding motorists that schools open Monday and they should be mindful of students walking, driving or being bused.

Grades K-9 students in both cities begin classes Monday, grades 10-12 on Tuesday. Prekindergarten classes start after Labor Day.

“Initially, bus runs will take some time,” Auburn School Superintendent Tom Morrill said. Bus drivers will be extra careful on the first few days, making sure all students get where they need to go, making the runs slow. Adding to that will be plenty of construction.

“Traffic is of great concern,” Morrill said. “It’s been a beautiful summer, and it does take some time for motorists to get in the habit of seeing students walking to school or being transported. Using caution and care will be very important.”

Lewiston High School Principal Gus LeBlanc agreed, saying he always worries about East Avenue traffic.

“On East Avenue there are a lot of students walking in the morning,” LeBlanc said. “People do slow down, I’ve been out there. But it doesn’t hurt to remind people between 7:30 and 8 a.m., and between 2 to 2:30 p.m., there are 1,400 students entering or exiting this high school.”

Lewiston High has finalized a new traffic pattern in front of the school, which should make it clearer for parents dropping students off, while other students are crossing lanes to enter the building.

There are now permanent barriers dividing the lanes. “In the driving lane there’s a raised curbing with a black fence, a physical barrier between the drop-off and driving area,” LeBlanc said. “We also put orange pedestrian markings where the crosswalks are.”

Monday will be an orientation for Auburn’s Edward Little freshmen, when they will meet with upperclassmen serving as mentors. The volunteer mentors will do games and activities hoping to make freshmen feel welcome in high school, junior Phoebe Chamberlin said.

“We’ll get them familiar with the school so they aren’t scared,” she said. Going to high school for the first time can be intimidating, she said. Mentors will also meet with freshmen throughout the year to check on how they’re doing, she said.

In Poland, Minot and Mechanic Falls, school also starts Monday for grades K-9; older high school students begin Tuesday, and prekindergarten the next week.

Monday’s freshmen orientation will be a day of fun and games at the lake.

“The weather looks good; there’ll be a lot of swimmers,” said Superintendent Dennis Duquette. The goal of the orientation day is to bring “everybody together and get to know each other. It’s a team building day.”

This year will be the first time that Poland, Minot and Mechanic Falls students all attend the Bruce M. Whittier Middle School in Poland. “It’s a big deal,” Duquette said, adding the change means more students will be bused more. Previously, only Poland students attended the school.

It’s the same situation for Sabattus-Wales-Litchfield middle schoolers. All of them will be at Oak Hill Middle School.

Each town had a K-8 school, Superintendent Jim Hodgkin said. It will mean major changes in bus routes, and could take a few days before routes go smoothly, he said. All the bus routes have new start times.

“We hope the parents will be patient with us and let us know when things are not going well,” Hodgkin said. The change also means that 80 percent of K-8 teachers have changed schools this year, Hodgkin said. “They’ve been in the schools a lot this summer doing prep work. They’re excited.” The academic benefits of the change “will be huge,” he said, and will better prepare students for high school.

Sabattus-Wales-Litchfield schools begin Wednesday. The idea is to bring students back from summer gradually, Hodgkin said, with a three-day week the first week; a four-day week the second, and a five-day week the third.

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