A school speed sign is posted on a residential street by École Alberni Elementary School in Port Alberni, B.C. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)

Central Vancouver Island RCMP not enforcing school zones

Oceanside, Alberni say speed zones not in effect because school is out

Port Alberni RCMP are not enforcing the school zone speed limit despite some schools being open for limited personnel.

An announcement by Cowichan RCMP that school zone speed limits are still in effect generated a buzz on Wednesday. Students in the Alberni Valley have been away from schools since spring break started on March 16.

“Given the current situation that all of our schools in Port Alberni are currently closed because of COVID-19, the Port Alberni RCMP are not currently enforcing the school zone speed limit of 30 kilometres per hour,” Cpl. Amelia Hayden said.

A spokesperson for Oceanside RCMP said their detachment isn’t enforcing school zone speed limits either, while Saanich Police made a similar announcement in mid-April.

READ: RCMP remind public that school zone speed limits still in effect

READ: COVID-19: Speed limits in playground zones are in effect

The difference between the Cowichan Valley school district and School District 70 (Alberni), says SD70 school board chair Pam Craig, is that Cowichan has several schools open to accommodate children of frontline and essential workers, while Port Alberni only has one school. She declined to identify the school to protect students’ safety.

Craig added that some staff members, such as administrators and custodial staff, have been attending Alberni Valley schools. Teachers have been leaving assignment packages for parents to pick up for students as well.

British Columbia Premier John Horgan said Wednesday, April 29 that full operation of public schools isn’t going to happen until next fall, but that some students are being added to classroom instruction this spring.

Hayden said the public needs to obey traffic laws all the time—a pandemic doesn’t mean speed limits don’t apply.

“The speed limits on our city streets and the highways are still being enforced,” she said.

“Speed limits in playground and construction zones also still apply and are being enforced during this pandemic. The public also needs to pay attention as circumstances around this pandemic and social distancing protocol are constantly changing.”

Hayden said as soon as students are back at school, the 30 km/h speed limit in school zones will be in effect and will be enforced.

“Even during this unprecedented time, the Port Alberni RCMP are actively working hard to keep the public safe both in their homes and on our streets. Drivers need to continue to drive responsibly on area streets and highways for everyone’s safety.”

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