As we enter the nicer weather in spring, it’s important that we remain focused on supporting our physical and mental health well-being and keeping our school zones safe. COVID-19 has led to changes in our day-to-day lives, and we all need to do our part to ensure the welfare of those around us.
Active School Travel (i.e walking, cycling, scootering) is one way we are encouraging our families to stay healthy and safe. As an alternative to driving, we invite families and students to walk, cycle and consider active modes as often as possible when traveling to and from school.
Below are some guidelines to consider as you journey to school. These guidelines were reviewed and supported by York Region Public Health.
● Stay at least two metres away from other people, including other students, and crossing guards whenever possible.
● If physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain, wear a mask.
● All students who live within walking distance are encouraged to walk or bike to and from school. Students in Grades 4 to 8 are especially encouraged to travel on foot or by bike rather than being driven to school.
St. Bernadette has two bike racks, one in front of the library and one in the front of the school. Students are invited to lock their bikes and scooters on the rack.
● When walking children that must be supervised, we encourage families to work together and take turns leading a group of children to and from school practicing physical distancing. Consider the Walking School Bus while adhering to health and safety measures, including physical distancing.
● Walk or cycle in single file, keeping two metres apart; step to the side to allow physical distance when passing someone going in the opposite direction, and near crossing guards or other pedestrians.
● Let children who are capable, walk or ride the last block or two on their own or with friends practicing physical distancing. This way, as few adults as possible enter the busy school zone.
● Families with older children are encouraged to have them walk their younger siblings to encourage as few adults as possible to enter the busy school zone.
● Help children cross busy streets safely and let them walk or cycle from there. This is a good way to gradually practice pedestrian skills and grow the distance your child can travel independently.
● If you cycle, dismount and walk near schools and in other areas where more pedestrians are present.
● Keep in mind that bike racks and scooter racks at schools are tightly spaced and could
easily tempt children to be closer than two metres away from each other. Have your child maintain physical distancing and wait their turn to store their bike or scooter.
What are the benefits?
● Improved physical and mental health and overall well-being including stronger immune
systems, social development and improved academic performance
● reduced vehicle congestion on our school sites and in our neighborhoods, and
● reduced air pollution and CO2 emissions