By Andrew Cassata
Healthy Schools Coordinator, The Heart Network
With school back in session across the North Country, and operating under somewhat normal circumstances in comparison to last year, it’s important to remember that more kids will be out in our communities, walking, rolling and biking to school.
The COVID-19 pandemic kept many folks at home for much of the 2020-21 school year, so seeing fewer kids commuting back and forth to school may lead to drivers letting the guard down. The Heart Network reminds everyone that the safety of our youth is paramount — slow down when driving during school hours and be on the lookout for kids making their way to and from school.
Equally important are the positive impacts that walking, biking, and rolling to school can have on school-aged kids and teens. Our partners at the national Safe Routes Partnership note that increased physical activity helps students create healthy habits that last a lifetime, helping to decrease the risk of chronic disease; their research notes that 100 percent of students who walked to and from school met the recommended 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity for week days. This activity can complement in-school physical education and is also linked to improved attendance rates and better classroom performance. To learn more about the Safe Routes Partnership, visit saferoutespartnership.org.
To increase awareness of the benefits of walking, biking, and rolling to school, the Heart Network’s Creating Healthy Schools & Communities (CHSC) program is encouraging local partners to participate in National Walk to School Day, which will take place this year on Wednesday, Oct. 6. This is a great opportunity for schools and communities to encourage physical activity and promote safety in neighborhoods and school zones. To learn more and register your school or community to participate, walkbiketoschool.org.
Our CHSC program works to increase access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity in schools and communities. To learn more, get in touch anytime: firstname.lastname@example.org.