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Everyone should prepare for school

Can you feel it in the air? Probably not

it's too hot outside.

Can you smell it in the air? Probably not

it's just the middle of summer.

But, the time is drawing near for school bells to ring and the sounds of children to once again fill the halls of the institutions of learning in Covington County.

Long gone are the days when school started after Labor Day and dismissed on Memorial Day. Instead, higher academic standards and the drive to be competitive with neighboring states and foreign countries has driven most Alabama school systems to begin the year earlier each year.

With that in mind, we can't help but encourage everyone - whether you have children in school or not - to be prepared for the start of school.

For Opp, school begins Monday. For Andalusia, school begins Thursday. For county schools, the session begins August 13. This means school buses will be rolling in the early morning hours, children will be crowding sidewalks and high school students (and some parents) will be running late and rushing to make it before the tardy bell rings.

Covington County, we urge everyone to be aware of the changes in traffic coming our way in just a few days. Watch for children and school buses. Leave a little earlier. Obey all traffic signs, and above all - be a cautious, defensive driver.

Every year, the horror stories of a child dying at the hands of speeding driver who ran through a bus stop blanket the airwaves of the national media. And every year, we all give a collective sigh and say "How could anyone do that?" Then, we just go about our business and keep rushing, forgetting the lessons we've just learned.

This year, let's all make it a personal goal that no child in Covington County comes to any harm due to accidents on the roadway on the way to and from school. Better yet, let's make it our personal goal that no child comes to harm - for any reason.

Take the time, make the effort, and let's get school off on the right foot this year. It could be a bleak year for education, but let's get it started right to set the example for the rest of the year.