School’s in, sun’s out across most of South

St Hilda’s Collegiate year 9 pupils (from left) Hope Huang, Thareni Luxmanan and Annie Jiang (all...
St Hilda’s Collegiate year 9 pupils (from left) Hope Huang, Thareni Luxmanan and Annie Jiang (all 13) keep cool in an air-conditioned classroom, during an orientation activity on their first day back at school yesterday. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
There are only three certainties in life — death, taxes and warm, sunny weather when pupils go back to school.

Many of Otago and Southland’s 50,000 pupils started returning to school yesterday, and like clockwork, some of the region’s warmest weather so far this summer has arrived.

While some pupils were grateful it was not depressing and pouring with rain on their return, others were day-dreaming about what they could be doing in the sun.

Temperatures reached 25degC in Dunedin and 30degC in Central Otago, and although it was a little cooler in Southland, it was still sunny.

Individual primary, intermediate and secondary schools can determine their own start date for term 1, as long as it occurs between January 27 and February 7.

Police around the regions have been encouraging parents to talk to their children about being safe around roads before going back to school.

National Road Policing Centre acting operations manager Senior Sergeant Paul Simcox said young children could be "excitable and can be distracted" when walking or busing to and from school.

"That means they may miss hazards on the roads, so it’s important to instil in them from an early age, just how important being safe around roads is."

He said if a child was going to school on their own for the first time this year, parents should show them the safest route to get to and from school, including the safest places to cross, and practise with them.

"It is also important to remind them of these safety messages frequently, even as they become young adults.

"As teenagers, they may be more prone to having their heads down in a phone and potentially not paying attention when they should be, such as when crossing a road."

Snr Sgt Simcox also reminded motorists to watch their speed around schools and be ‘‘extra alert’’ in case a child ran out in front without warning.

Drivers were also reminded the speed limit for passing stopped school buses was 20kmh.

"Even small increases in speed result in a much greater increase in your stopping distance, and that can mean the difference between life and death for pedestrians.

"Children can make mistakes and they don't deserve to pay for them with their life."

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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