Another school year is almost here and with it comes the daily, and sometimes daunting, task of getting kids to and from the Douglas School District. This information is meant to help families safely navigate student drop off and pick up and minimize traffic congestion around the schools.
The Patriot Gate (School Gate) will be closed to outbound vehicle traffic from 6:00am to 8:00am on school days. Parents will need to use the Liberty Gate (Main Gate) to access the schools during these times. The Patriot Gate will remain open to inbound vehicles and pedestrian traffic.
Kindergarten through 8th grade students can be dropped off as early at 7:30am if they eat breakfast at the schools. Otherwise, children cannot arrive until the supervised drop off times, as listed below:
School Breakfast Supervised Drop-Off School Start School Release*
Badger Clark (K-1) 7:30am 7:40am 8:05am 2:50pm
Francis Case (2-3) 7:30am 7:40am 8:05am 3:00pm
Vandenberg (4-5) 7:30am 7:30am 7:50am 2:45pm
Middle School (6-8) 7:30am 7:35am 8:00am 3:05pm
High School (9-12) 7:15am 7:15am 7:55am 3:10pm
* Students are released 2 hours early on early dismissal days
School Drop Off and Pick Up Procedures
- Drop Off: Drivers will access the drop off area by driving north on Briggs Road and pulling up to the sidewalk closest to the school. A teacher will be waiting to direct children into the building. Only north bound traffic will be allowed to drop off children. If a parent wants to escort their child into the school, they will need to park on Don Williams Drive.
- Pick Up: The school requires students to be picked up from the school cafeteria. Parking is available on Briggs Road and Don Williams Drive.
- Drop Off: Drivers will use Don Williams Drive to drop off their students at the crosswalk directly in front of the main entrance. They do not need to park unless they are escorting their children into the school.
- Pick Up: Students will be released to the front of the school. Drivers will need to park on Don Williams Drive to pick up their children.
- Drop Off: Drivers will use the traffic loop located off of Box Street to drop off their students. Once they exit the loop, they are encouraged to turn right onto 225th Street. Trying to turn left will slow down traffic and cause unnecessary congestion.
- Pick Up: Drivers will again use the Box Street loop for pick up. Double parking is not allowed, and drivers are again encouraged to turn right as they exit onto 225th Street.
- Transfer Bus: Vandenberg offers an afternoon transfer bus for transporting students to Badger Clark and Francis Case schools. The designated transfer bus is bus #8, which will be the first bus in the parking lot. If bus #8 is full, children can ride on any of the other buses in the lineup. If parents want their child to utilize this free service, they need to notify the office staff or their child’s teacher.
Douglas Middle School
- Drop Off: Drivers will use the two parking lot lanes closest to Tower Road. The lane closest to the school is for buses only. Parents are asked to pull all the way to the end of the lane before dropping off their student. Stopping near the front of the lane can cause traffic to back up onto the road. As they exit the parking lot, drivers are encouraged to turn right onto Tower Road. Trying to turn left will slow down traffic and cause unnecessary congestion.
- Pick Up: Drivers will again use the two designated parking lot lanes for pick up. They are asked not to block parking spaces or double park. As they exit the parking lot, drivers are again encouraged to turn right onto Tower Road. Since the parking lot can fill up quickly, one suggestion is to have middle school students walk to the elementary schools to meet up with siblings who also need to be picked up.
Safety and Etiquette
Safety needs to be the number one concern during drop off and pick up. Drivers need to slow down and watch for children in the roads and parking lots. State law requires that drivers stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk.
Drivers also need to be patient and courteous to one another. They are encouraged to take the time to let vehicles back out of parking spaces and not pass stopped cars in the parking lots. Parents also need to be courteous to the school staff and volunteers who are working to keep our kids safe.
One way to reduce the amount of time parents spend in school traffic is to set up a carpool with friends, neighbors and co-workers. This is a simple and effective way to reduce traffic congestion and save time and money on fuel.
Before and After School Care
If parents need to be at work before the supervised drop off times, the Youth Center’s School Age Program provides before and after school care starting at 6:15am and ending at 5:30pm. Students enrolled in the School Age Program can also receive busing to and from Douglas Schools for a nominal fee. For more information, call 385-2277.
Douglas Schools also has a before and after school program starting at 7am and ending at 5pm. For more information, call 923-0090.
Walking to School
Children can walk to school as an alternative to driving. This option may not work for everyone, and with the ever changing South Dakota weather, it may not be appropriate every day. However, it can be a great way for children to get some exercise and spend some time outside when weather permits.
Students who walk should travel through the Patriot Gate. There are sidewalks from both Rushmore Heights and Prairie View housing to all the Douglas schools. Parents should talk to their children about pedestrian safety and stress the importance of using sidewalks and crosswalks. It’s also recommended parents walk the route with their children beforehand so they know exactly what to expect.
Regardless if parents drive their children or have them walk, the first few days of school are always a busy time, and everyone should be prepared for additional traffic and increased travel time. However, if drivers follow the drop off and pick up procedures and focus on student safety, things should go smoothly. The base and school district appreciate everyone’s cooperation and are excited for another successful school year.