The Point: Students continue learning about rail safety presentations – virtually

Waking up the kids to get dressed, eat breakfast, and out the door in time for the school bell may not be the usual routine for most families these days, but students are still learning virtually through the hard work of dedicated teachers. At the same time, freight and passenger trains continue to operate daily across Riverside County. Operation Lifesaver, Inc., a non-profit organization and nationally recognized leader of rail safety education, reminds us, “Any Time is Train Time!”

The COVID-19 pandemic has required RCTC, in its long-standing partnership with California Operation Lifesaver, to adopt new ways to teach rail safety to community members, especially students. RCTC is conducting virtual rail safety presentations to students who live near train tracks.

During the past month, trained presenters have “Zoomed” with students at Nicolet Middle School in Banning, Chemawa and University Middle Schools in Riverside, La Petite Academy in Riverside, and Moreno Valley Unified School District’s Hearts Younited, an organization working to build kindness inside and outside the classroom.

The importance of ongoing rail safety education is urgent, even during the pandemic. With declining COVID-19 cases and increasing vaccination rates, some schools are making plans to resume in-person instruction. This may mean more parents and students needing to cross train tracks, either by car or on foot, to get to school.

Interested in a rail safety presentation for your child’s school in Riverside County? RCTC is available!

Our Operation Lifesaver team will schedule a Zoom presentation tailored for grade levels with easy-to-understand content that will hold students’ interest. Videos and interactive tools are used, and time is usually available for students and teachers to ask questions. Key messages include:

  • The only safe place to cross the railroad tracks is at a designated public crossing.
  • It can take a mile or more for a train to stop – the length of 18 football fields.
  • Railroad property is private property. It is illegal to be on railroad right of way unless you are at a designated public crossing.
  • Trains hang over the tracks at least three feet in both directions. If you are in the right of way next to the tracks, you can be hit by the train.
  • Never walk around or behind lowered gates at a crossing, and DO NOT cross the tracks until the lights have stopped flashing and it is safe to do so.

If your Riverside County school wants to learn more on how the virtual rail safety presentation work or to schedule a presentation, click here for more information.