Programs

SRTS Covid-19 Resources

Colorado Safe Routes to School is steadfast in our commitment to support Safe Routes to School programs, advocates, and practitioners as we adapt to life during the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to rely on the utmost in flexibility and creativity as we all explore and modify different ways of engaging youth and families through evolving times. While schools are largely implementing safety precautions and strategies for in-person learning, comfort levels and changing protocol may impact abilities to work directly with students in schools, meet with decision-makers in-person, or organize community events throughout the coming months. Regardless, there is much to be done to continue building on Safe Routes to School momentum. Here are some of our favorite crowdsourced suggestions as well as many helpful resources for staying focused on Safe Routes to School through these unusual times.

  • For schools where distance learning is happening, reach out to the school principal and physical education teachers to see how pedestrian and bicycle safety and other curricula you have been using in person can be incorporated into plans.
  • Encourage kids and their families to keep moving wherever learning is happening! Use social media to hold contests or competitions that can be offered to all students regardless of their current education models. Ideas might include holding an online poster contest illustrating “your best ride” or “your best walk”, or encouraging families to track their own walks and bicycle rides, sharing distances and frequencies accomplished.
  • Check out the sample activities from Culver City, CA, at ccwalkandroll.com/rides-and-walks for creative ideas all students can participate in regardless of their learning mode. Crosswords, word searches, activity calendars, and scavenger-hunt style games are among the fun sure to inspire. 
  • More great examples of educational resources such as coloring and activity books that can be distributed to all students, whether in-person or online, can be found on the Oregon Safe Routes to School Resources page at https://oregonsaferoutes.org/resources/; look under the Guides and Materials tabs. Minnesota Safe Routes to School has also put together a wonderful distance learning web page featuring fantastic walking and biking activity packs in English and Spanish.
  • Consider working with your school to offer online learning classes students can access from anywhere. For inspiration, check out a digital classroom for online learning from Iowa Safe Routes to School through Google Classroom.
  • In response to remote learning trends, the Bicycle Coalition of Main put together four excellent education modules to help teach the basics of bicycle and pedestrian safety.
  • The Virtual Bike Education Resource Hub from Bike New York offers an excellent list of books, videos, movies, documentaries, activities, and curricula designed to keep students from pre-K through high school engaged with the history, community, fitness, and fun of cycling. 
  • For schools in session, the timing couldn’t be better nor more impactful to organize small group walking school buses and bicycle trains. The SRTS guide site at saferoutesinfo.org features a Walking School Buses and Bicycle Trains page that offers explanations, tips, and strategies. Be sure to talk to one another about how to exercise social distancing to everyone’s comfort when setting up networks.
  • Take advantage of calmer streets when available to continue building pedestrian and bicycle safety skills with physical distancing measures in place. The Pedestrian Safety Journey at http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/pedsaferjourney/ and The Bicycle Safety Journey at http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/bicyclesaferjourney/ each include three videos—one for each of three age groups for youth 5-18 –and additional resources that can be used to expand pedestrian safety skills.
  • In-school learning may include new approaches such as staggered pick-up and drop-off times, rotating schedules, and other options to limit contact. Take the opportunity to remind families to exercise caution and vigilance as everyone adjusts to different routines, slowing down and yielding for pedestrians at all times.
  • King County Metro in Washington has put together online Social Distancing Tip Sheets for Walking and Biking that are available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic, Burmese, and Dari.  
  • Research the schools in your region and gather data about income levels, food access, park locations, and crash rates – all information that will come in handy for prioritizing Safe Routes to School work and developing grant applications.
  • Review existing curricula (yours or others) and make plans to incorporate them in to school lesson plans next year.
  • Draft messages and materials in advance promoting walking and rolling for prospective events when you’re ready to hold them.
  • Review your school’s wellness policy and other policies and see if they can be strengthened for walking and biking to school.
  • Connect with local officials about potential options for improving safe routes to school as part of the solution to make both school busing and active transportation COVID-19 safe. Look together at possibilities such as reallocating driving lanes to extend sidewalks, closing streets in front of schools during drop-off hours, and adding markings every six feet to encourage social distancing on popular routes.
  • The Getting Back to School Together webpages  developed by the Committee on Safe & Healthy Journeys to School During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond (led by the National Center for Safe Routes to School) help support safe travel for students between home and school for in-person school in the fall. These pages provide a central location for key strategies for school travel, all school travel-related guidance; and ideas and examples of twelve school and community strategies implemented during the 2020-2021 school year that might work anywhere.
  • The Safe Routes Partnership Safe Routes Back 2 School 2021 webpages offer a broad range of new materials to support the 2021-22 school year, aiming for a Socially-connected, Active Future for Everyone, with SAFE routes connecting kids to learning, to health, and to each other again. These resources include training guides, recorded training, and video on using the Place It! method to creatively engage students, parents, staff, and teachers around Safe Routes to School, a Building Blocks gude to starting and growing a Safe Routes to School Program, a Walk audit toolkit and next steps, trauma-informed approaches to Safe Routes to School programming specifically addressing the collective trauma of the pandemic, and much more.
  • Colorado Safe Routes to School Webinars: Take this opportunity to watch and/or review our recent webinar series, presented by the Safe Routes Partnership and tailored to Colorado. Each provides valuable ideas, tools and resources for starting, building and sustaining Colorado Safe Routes to School programs. Webinar recordings can be found on our Events/Other Learning Opportunities page on our website, along with updates on new webinars we plan ahead.
  • A Safe Routes Back to School Toolkit created by Metro, the regional planning agency serving greater Portland, Oregon, in partnership with Alta Planning + Design includes strategies appropriate for all-virtual learning, as well as those for models through which kids return to school, such as pop-up sidewalk extensions, physically-distanced temporary traffic playgrounds and play spaces, and considerations for school busing needs.
  • Also from Metro, Oregon, in partnership with Discover Traffic Gardens, the Traffic Playground Toolkit supports planning, design, and installation of permanent traffic playgrounds. The toolkit includes site layout considerations, implementation tools and resources, and case studies from around the country. It further includes chapters on community engagement and programming to support the long-term use and support for new traffic playgrounds.
  • Alliance for a Healthier Generation Fitness Breaks encourages movement at https://www.healthiergeneration.org/resources/physical-activity/fitness-breaks, offering short and fun, kid-focused active videos with professional athletes.
  • The Safe Routes Partnership offers fabulous webinars which are recorded and posted on their website throughout the year. These webinars provide guidance on starting, building, and sustaining SRTS programs through a wide range of topics. Moreover, CSRTS recently offered a 5-part webinar series presented by the Safe Routes Partnership specific to Colorado. You can find recordings of these webinars on our CSRTS website under the Events and Learning Opportunities/Other Learning Opportunities tab.
  • Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery from NACTO (National Association of City Transportation Officials) and Global Designing Cities Initiative offers guidance on school street design specific to these unusual times.   
  • Micro-grant ideas: Oregon Physical Education Teacher and SRTS Champion Sam Balto put together this document sharing 7 Safe Routes to School Covid19 response ideas ideal for mico-grants and attainable mini-projects.