Michigan students will be joining schoolchildren from around the world to celebrate International Walk to School Day (W2SD) on Wednesday, October 7. This year’s theme, “Walk and Bike to the Beat” – encourages students, parents, teachers, and community leaders to engage in fun, themed activities on their school commute or if distance learning, around their neighborhoods. In addition to the official day, students are also being encouraged to take part in a series of Walk and Wheel Wednesdays throughout the month of October.
“Participating in Walk to School Day is a simple way for students to get exercise and for communities to develop a culture of walking and biking to school,” said Michigan Fitness Foundation President and CEO Amy Ghannam. “Through our Safe Routes to School partnership with the Michigan Department of Transportation, we are able to help communities create a more friendly walking and biking environment that encourages physical fitness and healthy habits.”
Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) administers the federally legislated Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program which is a federal program designed to make it safe, convenient, and fun for children to walk and bike to school.
“MDOT encourages participation in Walk to School Day and Walking Wednesdays this October. MDOT’s SRTS partners at Michigan Fitness Foundation have done an excellent job of modifying the International Walk to School day participation this year to accommodate safety concerns related to COVID-19. Walking or biking to and from school, or on everyday routes with their family, allows students to get the regular physical activity they need for good health,” said MDOT Office of Economic Development Administrator Mike Kapp.
As a component of SRTS programming, W2SD events also highlight the importance of pedestrian safety, traffic congestion, concern for the environment and building connections between families, schools, and the broader community. Events can be as straightforward or as grand as schools want to plan — from simply inviting students to walk to school to hosting a full-blown walking parade.
There is still time for schools to register for the event, and all registered schools receive planning assistance from SRTS program staff. To register, visit https://saferoutesmichigan.org/walk-to-school-day/.