MICHIGAN, USA — The mad scramble of back-to-school shopping is underway, teachers are preparing for another school year and students are counting their last days of summer break.
Do you know when the kiddos are supposed to head back to school for the 2023/2024 school year?
Here's our list of when school begins in West Michigan:
- Forest Hills, Caledonia
- East G.R.
- Comstock Park
- Grand Rapids Public Schools
- Grand Haven
- Cedar Springs
- Muskegon Heights
- Muskegon Public
- Muskegon Reeths-Puffer
- Allegan, Grant Public
- Spring Lake
- Kalamazoo Public Schools
- Portage Public Schools
- Zeeland Public
- Mona Shores
Back to school safety tips
With the school year starting soon, many students will skip the bus to walk or ride their bikes to class.
East Grand Rapids Public Safety has tips for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists to ensure those busy morning and afternoon commutes are safe and smooth:
- If no crossing guard is present, make eye contact with the pedestrian or driver to ensure a safe street crossing.
- Walk bikes while crossing a street and always wear a helmet.
- Ensure bikes are working properly before the first day of school.
- Obey the “no turn on right” signs at red lights during school hours and always use a turn signal.
- Stay alert and off your phone. If you are listening to music, make sure it is either at a level you can hear traffic or you only have one earbud in.
- Do not continue driving until all pedestrians have safely reached the sidewalk.
- As daylight hours shorten, pedestrians and bicyclists should wear reflective clothing or gear so they are easily visible to drivers.
- Follow crossing guard prompts – it may take a few extra minutes, but it provides a safe commute for students.
Additionally, drivers need to keep in mind the state’s distracted driving law that went into effect this summer. Under this law, it is illegal to use a cell phone or other mobile electronic device in your hand while operating a vehicle – including when stopped at a light or in traffic – on Michigan roads. This means drivers cannot hold their phones or use them for the following activities:
- Accessing, reading or posting to social media.
- Browsing the internet.
- Entering information into a GPS or navigation system.
- Making or answering a phone or video call.
- Sending or reading an email or text message.
- Watching, recording or sending a video.
Back-to-school shopping tips
If you're still carving down your back-to-school shopping list, The Better Business Bureau® in Western Michigan has noticed an increase in online purchase scams across the state, particularly in the realm of social media ads.
In fact, the BBB said online purchases scams were the riskiest scam type for the third year in a row, according to the 2022 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report.
Don't fall for too-good-to-be-true shopping deals online.
Before you hit the checkout button, consider the following BBB tips to make sure supplies arrive on time without losing big bucks.
- Shop with familiar retailers. Some of the best deals are only available online, but be careful. It’s easy for a fake site to mimic a famous retailer’s website, so make sure you shop with a legitimate site. Especially when shopping for expensive tech like laptops and tablets. If the site is missing contact information, that is a red flag. Check out retailers at BBB.org before you shop.
- Check a site’s security settings. If the site is secure, its URL (web address) should start with “HTTPS://” and include a lock icon on the purchase or shopping cart page.
- Be a savvy shopper. When shopping online, take your time and read the fine print before submitting your order. Look for the return policy; although many online orders can be returned for a full refund, others have restocking fees. Some items cannot be returned; know before you buy.
- Approach low prices with caution. Low prices and short-term sales could signal you’ve encountered a scam. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Think before you click. Be especially cautious about ads on social media sites. Many sketchy retailers advertise great deals or trendy clothing that doesn’t match the promotional hype.
- Beware of phishing. Phishing emails can look like a message from a well-known brand, but clicking on unfamiliar links can place you at risk for malware and/or identity theft. One popular scam claims to be from a package-delivery company with links to “tracking information” on an order you don’t remember making. Don’t click!
- Shop with a credit card. In a fraudulent transaction, a credit card provides additional protection; it’s easier to dispute charges you didn’t approve or get your money back if there is a problem. Debit cards, prepaid cards, or gift cards don’t have the same protections as credit cards.
Learn how to have your online orders delivered safely here.
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