MCALLEN, Texas (KVEO) — As students across the Valley head back to online learning, authorities will continue to enforce laws in school zones in districts across the RGV, even if students are not physically on campus.
The McAllen School District says school zone traffic lights for high schools and middle schools are already working, with elementary school zones going into effect by Septemeber 11.
KVEO reached out to several districts to see if school zones would be enforced. Several districts say while city officials do consult with the districts, that decision is up to city officials and law enforcement.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) says if a school zone is operational with signs and flashing signals, drivers must obey the law, even if no students are on campus.
“We do also have schools that are located outside the city, which DPS does patrol those school zones as well. They not only patrol those but in the city we also partner up with local law enforcement in those school zones, making sure we’re keeping the children safe,” says Lt. Christopher Olivarez, Texas Department of Public Safety Public Information Officer.
Lt. Olivarez adds while schools may be closed there may be students, teachers, staff and even parents going to the school for various reasons.
Olivarez adds enforcement of school zones is solely up to local police, but DPS says they will be making sure drivers are following Texas law.
The cities of Edinburg, Brownsville, Mission, and Pharr say their school zones will not be operational. Harlingen told us they are currently in discussions with their local police department and city administration on what they will do.
McAllen police say they will be out enforcing those school zones. DPS also wants to remind drivers about safety when in a school zone.
Lt. Olivarez says drivers should stay alert and aware of their surroundings at all times, put the cell phone away and he also reminds drivers traffic fines usually double when in a school zone.