On Wednesday, Delaware City Schools and the Delaware Public Health District (DPHD) partnered to observe Walk To School Day.
The school district and health district encouraged families to walk or bike to school, and the health district visited the elementary schools Wednesday to give out a pencil and bracelet to every student who came to school on foot.
Traci Whittaker, the public information officer at the DPHD, said organizers had several goals for the event.
“The health district wanted to promote Walk to School day for a variety of reasons,” Whittaker said. “(The day promotes) many issues that communities care about, like creating safer and more walkable routes to school, building a sense of community, and inspiring families to use physical, active travel for the school commute more often.”
Whittaker said there are many advantages to walking or biking to school.
“Walking or biking to school encourages a healthy lifestyle and offers an opportunity for children to get in physical activity as part of their daily routine,” she said. “Walking or biking to school also provides students with basic safety skills, such as how to choose where to walk and where to cross streets, how to obey crossing guards, and being visible to drivers.”
Whittaker said she hopes that people who participated in Walk to School Day came away with more knowledge of safety skills and the value of exercise.
“(I hope they got) a sense of awareness of the need for pedestrian and bicyclist safety education and the importance of practicing safety skills with their children,” Whittaker said. “(The health district hopes they learned the value of) fitting in physical activity opportunities to walk and bike to school with their whole family if possible.”
Delaware City Schools Superintendent Heidi Kegley said the school district was happy to team up with the health district for the event, and she was glad to see students taking part throughout the district.
“We were very pleased to partner with the Delaware Public Health Department to promote Walk and Bike to School Day,” Kegley said. “It was a great opportunity for families to explore safe routes to school and practice bike and walking safety. It was wonderful to see so many students participate across the district, and we look forward to continued partnerships to promote healthy and safe habits for our students.”
According to the National Center for Safe Routes to School, the coordinating agency for the day, the event has taken place more than 2,400 times in 47 states and in Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.