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ICS to change school schedules to reduce traffic

IRONTON — Citing safety concerns for its student in the wake of ongoing traffic congestion along Delaware Street, Ironton City Schools announced Thursday that it will push up the start and dismissal times for high and middle school students by 15 minutes.

Beginning Monday, Sept. 21, all middle and high school students in the Ironton City School district will now start school at 7:30 a.m. and have dismissal at 2:30 p.m.

Also starting Monday, high and middle school students who ride the bus to and from school should expect the bus to pick them up 10 minutes earlier than their current schedule and drop them off 15 minutes earlier as well.

Class and bus schedules for students in kindergarten through fifth grade are not affected and will not change.

Ironton Schools Superintendent Dean Nance said the decision to “tweak” the schedules for both high and middle school students was done to “improve traffic flow” around the school buildings along with the well-being of the student’s safety and health.

“We made this decision for safety reasons,” Nance said. “We wanted all kids to have the opportunity to eat breakfast and arrive and depart safely from school.”

Nance said notes explaining the changes are being sent home with students this week.

“We appreciate the parents understanding and cooperation in this matter,” Nance said.

The superintendent added that he along with the district’s administrative team discussed multiple options to alleviate congested gridlock on Delaware Street during school hours. Starting last month, every student in grades K-12 began attending classes in one of two buildings located on the far north side of the city.

After years of being scattered throughout Ironton, students in grades K-8 began attending the brand new Ironton Elementary and Middle school building at the end of Delaware Street.

Their arrival, coupled with Ironton High School students being temporarily housed at the district’s former middle school just up the street, has resulted in traffic backups — many of which have stretched nearly a half-mile and had students running through traffic to make sure they were not late for school.

Nance said last month that he encouraged cars needing to drop off or pick up at the temporary high school to come down Delaware Street and make a left at the access road before the old middle school and drop off on the back side of the building.