MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Nearly 350,000 students returned to class Monday in Miami-Dade County.
The first day of school began well before sunrise at the district's main transportation hub in northwest Miami-Dade where drivers completed their last-minute checks on the district's fleet of nearly 1,000 buses.
"We have to also check our tire pressure, make sure we have no nails, no flats or anything of that nature," school bus driver Ethel Gilbert said.
The superintendent started his day there, as well, handing out free snacks and coffee to drivers while also delivering this message to parents:
"We're ready to teach reading, writing and arithmetic on day one. Meet us in the middle. Teach your children, speak with them about respect, responsibility and restrained living," Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said.
Each bus is now equipped with a new alarm system, requiring every driver to walk the length of the bus before leaving, ensuring no child is accidentally left on board.
After leaving the bus lot, district officials then hopped aboard a bus, taking a ride to Goleman Senior High School in Miami Lakes.
From there, it was on to Louverture Elementary School in Little Haiti.
As workers made lunch, students there got a big welcome back from some big-name Heat players.
"Being able to give back and tell these kids, 'Make sure to be excited, because it goes by really fast,'" the Heat's Chikezie "KZ" Okpala said.