School bus drivers to use hand signals at bus stops this fall

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Schools across the state are taking extra steps to keep kids safe when they take the bus to school.

Starting in January, the North Carolina Board of Education will require all school bus drivers to use hand gestures to tell students when it is safe to cross the street.

Guilford County and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools will start implementing the changes this fall. Students will go through training to learn the hand gestures when they return to school.

During morning pick-ups and afternoon drop-offs, bus drivers will hold their palm up to signal students to wait.

When it is safe, the bus driver will give students a thumbs up, then point in the direction the kids are walking across the street.

In 2013, Guilford and Chatham County schools volunteered to pilot the bus safety project for the state. Guilford County transportation officials say the hand gestures do work, as long as students pay attention to drivers.

School system officials say they plan to send out information about the new hand gestures this fall. Parents are encouraged to work on the signals with their kids at home.