As schools look to reopen this fall, we have resources for our partners across the state about how to help students safely walk and bike to school while maintaining social distancing.
With your help, we hope to encourage schools to provide safe walking and biking information to families. National experts believe safety measures like walking or biking to school are easy physical distancing solutions. We found the Risk Reduction Strategies for Reopening Schools report by Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health encourages schools to consider methods that facilitate lower-risk transportation to and from school, and cites the importance of “reducing viral transmission, the safest routes of transportation are walking, biking, or personal vehicle.”
We urge all school-level SRTS coordinators to read through this general planning guide on Considerations for Walking and Biking to School this Fall from the Pedestrian and Bicyclist Information Center and the National Center of Safe Routes to School.
For easy primers about starting a walking program, we recommend the following:
- Starting a WSB during COVID-19: This resource from the Redwood Communication Action Agency in Eureka, California provides information for a group of parents or staff to create neighborhood-based Walking School Buses while maintaining social distancing.
- Walking While Social Distancing: This flyer from King County’s School Pool program provides information and tips for families to do informal walks while social distancing and ways to make it fun for everyone.
In addition to the educational resources on our website, we’ve rounded up some others to assist in providing in-person and remote walking and biking education to students:
- Safely Conducting a Pedestrian Rodeo – Safe Moves, CA
- Educational Ideas for Students at Home – Alameda County SRTS
- What Every Young Bicyclist Must Know – the League of Michigan Bicyclists
We know that there may be other considerations to make in the upcoming months. For example, in addition to wearing masks, social distancing, and hand sanitizing, schools may also need to consider who and how often will sanitize common items such as bike racks, bike libraries, and any other shared items. Resources below can help provide guidance on these considerations.
Some communities are opting to create more space – even if temporarily – for students to walk and bike to school. This type of pop-up design can be set-up in the morning and taken down after students arrive at school safely. For examples of “opening streets” check this recent article on our website.
For a deeper dive into programming ideas for walking and biking to school this year, please visit the Safe Routes Partnership ‘Back to School 2020 Safe Routes to School Programming’ guide. Their guide provides schools and communities suggestions and solutions based on the various learning scenarios schools may be facing this year. Also, take a look at the resource exchange from other programs across the country.
Photo Credit: Post Bulletin newspaper – Longfellow Elementary Rochester Public Schools – Traci Westcott