HomeOperationsSafe Routes Organization Issues Guidance for Walking, Biking Programs During COVID-19

Safe Routes Organization Issues Guidance for Walking, Biking Programs During COVID-19

The Safe Routes to School Partnership released a 55-page guide that addresses canceling or amending safe walking and biking campaigns amid the increasing implementation of virtual-only or hybrid learning models.

Back to School 2020: Recommendations for Safe Routes to School Programming,” advises that schools using online-only models forego programs. In doing so, the organization points out that it remains important for schools to continue to be in contact with crossing guards, calling them “essential partners in Safe Routes to School programs.”

The guidance also notes that crossing guards can be difficult to recruit and retain, so schools should be creative in finding ways to keep them on payrolls. One suggestion is that they conduct walk audits during the ongoing closure of school buildings.

For schools that offer hybrid learning models, the guidance advises that some bike rodeos and walking school bus programs may be facilitated in-person with the proper use of face coverings and hand sanitizer. Meanwhile, schools should be prepared for some parents opting to drive their children to and from school, which could result in increased traffic around school drop-off and pick-up zones. In this case, “[w]alking school bus programs and shared bike fleets may or may not be appropriate or preferred.”

In such a scenario, crossing guards remain essential, the resource adds. Where biking or walking programs continue, physical distance is also vital. Students, parents and caregivers also need training to adhere to those requirements.

For schools that operate full in-person learning, the guidance also recommends the same physical distancing and safety precautions of remaining six feet apart and the use of PPE. But it also advises planners to be “prepared to make modifications accordingly.”

It notes that students should be trained on how to utilize driveways or how to safely step off the sidewalk to allow other pedestrians to pass. Other training procedures should include the use of hand signals and only crossing streets at the end of a block if accompanied by an adult, paying special attention to motorists.

The guidance also advises working with a school site or the district to ensure there are clear spaces for students arriving at school to wait with physical distancing in place to have their temperatures taken.

Related: New App Aims to Better Streamline Walking School Bus Concept
Related: Washington State Walking School Bus Program Provides Link to Community Engagement
Related: School Districts Participate in International Walk to School Day
Related: School Districts Participate in International Walk to School Day

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