Back to class for kids in Pacific theater
August 24, 2003
Pencils are sharpened and new clothes pressed: It must be back to school season.
Classes start Monday for the Department of Defense Dependents Schools students in Japan, Okinawa and South Korea.
That means drivers on U.S. installations should watch for children walking to schools or waiting at bus stops.
More than 10,000 students will ride buses along almost 6,800 miles of school routes as about 24,000 students return to class theaterwide. There will be 247 attendants providing security and handling emergencies aboard buses.
Counterterrorism plans are being implemented and DODDS officials are adding sophisticated technology to buses that use global positioning and student identification-card readers to monitor buses and their passengers.
The technology can show if a bus is off schedule or leaves a route. The tracking devices are in place in South Korea and will be implemented in Japan and Okinawa within a few months.
Officials did not discuss counteRterrorism plans.
Students and families will notice a few other changes at schools this year, including a number of new principals and assistant principals and a few new buildings and campuses.
This year, DODDS-Pacific will have 41 schools, spokeswoman Mary Hibbs said Thursday.
In South Korea, Camp Humphreys Elementary School replaces the Camp Humphreys Osan Elementary School Annex, formerly located in a Quonset hut.
Arnn Elementary School in Sagamihara Housing Area near Camp Zama, Japan, was built as a replacement campus.
Yokosuka Middle School is a new facility at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan.
Also in Japan, Sasebo’s E.J. King Unit School was split into Sasebo Elementary School (kindergarten through sixth grade) and E.J. King High School (seventh through 12th grade).
One thing that will remain the same for students this year is lunch prices: $1.95 for elementary and $2.10 for middle and high school students.
For students from low-income families, reduced-price lunches will cost 40 cents in all schools and be free for those who meet specific U.S. Department of Agriculture indigency guidelines.