What to know as students in Raleigh, Durham and Cumberland County head back to the classroom

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Friday, August 25, 2023
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- It's that time of the year for students who go to school on a traditional calendar in Wake, Durham and Cumberland counties to head back to the classroom.

The new school year brings with it some changes to things like bus routes and meal plans.

Here is what you need to know for each school district:

Wake County Public School System

Bus routes will be different for some students this year due to a bus driver shortage. Click here for updated routes.

The district said it remains 300 bus drivers short of being fully staffed. Because of this, even without any drivers calling out, an average of 3,000 students per day will arrive on a school bus up to 30 minutes late for class.

Wake County Public School System has announced changes to the upcoming school year.

Due to the rise in food costs and supply, meals have increased by 25 cents. A full-price meal at elementary school will now cost $3.25. Middle and high schools will increase to $3.50. Lunch menus for schools can be found here.

Some of the supplies for Kindergarten include crayons, headphones and disinfecting wipes. A full school supply list for grades K-5 is here.

WCPSS will also have a new superintendent heading into this school year. Dr. Robert Taylor will take over for Catty Moore who retired on July 1.

There will also be a new visitor check-in system for the school district.

Durham Public Schools

For more bus information parents will need to log into the Edulog Parent Portal App.

Parents, if you have students attending Northern High School please note the opening has been delayed for a few days. DPS says the new high school will open on Aug. 31. Open House has been rescheduled for Aug. 29 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Durham Public Schools holds back-to-school rally

The district also has created a list of important dates during the school year.

Nutrition information is found here. A calendar with important dates is also available. School supply list here.

Like with other school districts in the state and nationwide, DPS has a staffing shortage. The district recently held a job fair to fill those positions.

Cumberland County Schools

School bus information can be found here. A new app is also available for families when it comes to bus transportation.

Information on school lunches and how to apply for free or reduced lunches.

A bell schedule for all the schools is located here.

School supply list found here.

Don't forget that NC law requires all children in the state to receive certain immunizations depending on grade level. Those requirements are for students in Kindergarten, 7th grade and 12th grade.

Cumberland County Schools is offering immunization clinics to students that will be held in partnership with Cumberland County Health Department.


"Drivers carry the great responsibility of safely sharing our roads," said Captain Todd Harris, of the Chapel Hill Police Traffic Unit. "Slow down, put the phone down, and just focus on the road. The texts, emails, and calls can wait."

Bus, walk, bike, or family car, ABC11 has compiled some road rules, from various law enforcement agencies, for a safe arrival to school and a safe return home.

RELATED | School bus safety takes center stage as state leaders prepare for start of school year

Riding the Bus - Bus stop safety tips

  • Arrive at the bus stop a few minutes early
  • Parents or a trusted adult should be at the bus stop every morning and afternoon
  • Stay out of the street and pay attention to your surroundings
  • Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before getting on or off
  • Stay seated and keep your head and arms inside the bus at all times
  • Do not distract the bus driver

Attention Drivers!

  • Drivers must stop for red, flashing lights and extended 'stop' arms
  • Pedestrians should walk on the sidewalk instead of the street
  • Drivers must never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians
  • Drivers should give school buses at least a 10-feet buffer
(Photo: NC Division of Motor Vehicles, School Bus & Traffic Safety )

When to STOP for a school bus

  • Two-lane roadway - All traffic from both directions must stop
  • Two-lane with a center turning lane - All traffic from both directions must stop
  • Four-lane roadway - All traffic from both directions must stop
  • Four-lane roadway with a median - Only traffic following the bus must stop
  • Four or more lanes with a center turning lane - Only traffic following the bus must stop

Know the main THREE blind spots--Front, Side, Rear!

Here's where a bus driver can lose sight of a child:

  • FRONT - It's never safe to walk close to the front of the bus. Children should walk five giant steps ahead of the bus before crossing in front of it.
  • SIDE - Children should always stay three giant steps away from the side of the bus.
  • REAR - NEVER walk behind the school bus.


  • If your child walks to school, here are safety reminders
  • Always use the safest route and don't take shortcuts
  • Strengths in numbers: Try walking with other students and families
  • Use designated crosswalks
  • Always look both ways before crossing the street
  • Walk, never run across intersections
  • Never, ever get into a vehicle with anyone without a parent or guardian's permission

Biking to School

If your child's school allows them to ride their back:

  • They should always wear a helmet that fits well
  • Travel along the safest route
  • Follow the rules of the road
  • Ride along with other students when possible