When buses and parents dropped off students at RHAM High School and Middle School for the start of another school week, they took a different route, one school officials hope will be safer from what was in place before.
In March, a parent accidentally drove into the bus lane, abruptly backed up and struck Dawn Mallory-Bushor, of Groton, a middle school math teacher. Mallory-Bushor suffered critical injuries in the crash and died.
After that tragedy, RHAM Middle School increased security, evaluated the traffic pattern on campus and the superintendent also met with a civil engineer.
Beginning on Monday morning, the district changed how RHAM students are dropped off in order to keep them safe.
Buses for middle and high schoolers will drop students off behind the high school. Middle school students will then walk through the high school to reach their own building.
Parents will take another path. Middle and high school parents will drive through different entrances to hopefully ease congestion and confusion.
"The traffic this morning was backed up almost half way to Marlborough due to the new drop off situation," John Rivosa, of Hebron, said.
More should be done to prevent some of the congestion.
"It's unfortunate that we had a death, I sympathize for that, but we shouldnt do a knee jerk reaction, we need to think it out a little better."
Ryan Treat, a student, said the new changes will work.
"It'll help a lot of preventable things," he said.
NBC Connecticut reached out to the superintendent, but calls were not returned on Monday morning.
"I just started driving to school, so it's chaos. Lots of cars backing out, pulling in," said RHAM High School student Mykenzie Lanagan. "It'll probably increase the safety because the buses are in one spot instead of going and cutting through all the student parking and drop off."
The district is also planning other safety measures, including signs, speed bumps, and Jersey barriers.
"I'm surprised this is the first incident because after experiencing it for four years, you would think that more things would happen," said Casey Lavallee, who graduated from RHAM High School last year.