Safe Routes Back 2 School 2021

Safe Routes Back 2 School Log

The return to school for the 2021-22 school year is about safe walking, rolling and so much more! Together we will make a Socially-connected, Active, Future for Everyone, with SAFE routes connecting kids to learning, to health, and to each other again. With the first launch of resources on June 23 and extending through the new school year, September 21, the Safe Routes Partnership will be providing key messaging, real-time resources, and Zoom discussion sessions to prepare all of us for the return to school. We recognize that the new school year may still look different across the nation but we aim to support each of you as you champion walking, biking, and rolling to and during school as solutions to build back better. Through the SAFE Routes Back to School campaign these efforts will be future-focused supporting the social connections and physical activity our kids need to be ready to learn.


Launch 1 Resources
  • One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: COVID-19’s Impact on Youth Physical Activity and Safe Routes to School - This new report helps paint the picture of how COVID-19 has impacted physical activity for youth and families, examines how the past year has changed the way people move throughout their communities, and offers recommendations for supporting physical activity moving forward.
  • Why Safe Routes to School is an Essential Part of Reopening: Talking Points for Safe Routes to School in 2021 - This new resource helps identify some of the challenges that have either surfaced because of or were exacerbated by the pandemic and offers talking points to outline how Safe Routes to School can provide the tools to address some of those concerns.
  • 2020 Back to School Guide - Revisit the 2020 guide for a comprehensive set of short-term, actionable recommendations for implementing Safe Routes to School programs remotely, in-person, and/or through a hybrid mode.
  • Safe Routes Back 2 School Zoom Session #1 - Safe Routes Partnership held an informal Zoom session on preparing Safe Routes to School programs for Back to School 2021. This session featured Safe Routes to School program highlights by Georgia Commute Schools and Monterey County Health Department. Review presentation materials from our first Zoom session and don’t forget to register for our second session on August 4th!
  • Tactical Urbanism and Safe Routes to School - Tactical Urbanism and Pop-up Safe Routes to School projects help show how easy it is to make changes that make it safer and more inviting for kids to walk and bicycle to school. Consult these resources for ideas on implementing a pop-up project in your community over the summer and during Back to School 2021.
Launch 2 Resources  
  • Safe Routes Back 2 School Zoom Session #2 - Join us for an informal session on preparing your Safe Routes to School program for Back to School 2021. Learn about Back to School resources from Safe Routes Partnership, see highlights from Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT)’s Safe Routes to School program that engaged students and families during the pandemic, and connect with other Safe Routes practitioners during informal breakout sessions. The majority of the session will be reserved for connecting with others during breakout groups based on discussion topics.
  • Defining Roles and Partnerships for Safe Routes to School - This new resource outlines roles of different partners and opportunities for collaboration. It can be used as a guide in developing a task force or engaging with an existing group of agencies and community partners to support your Safe Routes to School program. 
  • Place It! for Safe Routes to School guide, training, and video - Review this guide, recorded training, and (NEW!) video on using the Place It! method to creatively engage students, parents, staff, and teachers around Safe Routes to School. Place It! workshops can help generate ideas for improved routes to school that emphasize visionary and inclusive design solutions.
  • Engaging Students with Disabilities in Safe Routes to School - This infobrief provides information for Safe Routes to School staff, volunteers, or program leaders on how to plan and develop a program that considers and meets the needs of students with disabilities.
  • Building Blocks: A Guide to Starting and Growing a Safe Routes to School Program - Are you looking to start or grow your Safe Routes to School Program? This toolkit will help you kick off a new program or strengthen your existing one. It provides step by step guidance on how to start a program, how to get your school and city on board, and how to make your program stronger over time. 
  • Walk audit toolkit and walk audit next steps - Walk audits are a great tool in creating communities where community members can participate in making their vision of healthy, safe, walkable streets real. Consider assessing the routes to school before the school year starts and working to make improvements so that students are able to walk and bike safely when they return to campus. 
  • Trauma-Informed Approaches to Safe Routes to School Programming - We all experienced individual and collective trauma over the past year. Read this blog post to learn about ways that Safe Routes to School practitioners can take a trauma-informed approach to support the varied needs of children, their caregivers, and school partners as students return to school this fall.
Launch 3 Resources
  • Safe Routes Back 2 School Zoom Session #2 Recap (August 4, 2021) - Earlier this month, we held our second informal session on preparing your Safe Routes to School program for Back to School 2021. We shared Back to School resources, heard highlights from Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT)’s Safe Routes to School program that engaged students and families during the pandemic, and connected with other Safe Routes practitioners during informal breakout sessions. Visit our website for a recording of the opening presentations, PDFs of the slides, and a link to our new Back to School Messaging Guide.
  • Safe Routes to School Back to School Messaging Guide - As Summer 2021 comes to an end, marketing efforts are once again focused on Back to School. With the increase in students returning to in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year, Safe Routes to School programs must be ready to engage students, parents, teachers, and administrators on the benefits of Safe Routes to School. This Back to School Messaging Guide contains sample social media posts, templates for social media graphics, and promotional flyers to help you effectively communicate and market your Safe Routes to School Program.
  • Safe Routes Partnership Webinar Archive - Our webinars feature our staff and incredible advocates, Safe Routes to School program staff, government officials, elected leaders, and others from around the country sharing their knowledge and learning on a diverse range of topics. Visit our webinar archive for recordings of webinars we’ve held over the past year, including the following highlights with pandemic-specific content:
    • Community Engagement Lessons from the Pandemic: What Should We Keep in Our Toolbox? - This virtual workshop and discussion was led by Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative on innovative community engagement tools and practices used during the pandemic that may deserve a permanent place in our toolboxes as communities reopen.
    • Advancing Safe Routes to Parks in the Time of Coronavirus - In this webinar, Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities program 2020 participants shared about their work and how they shifted their activities in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Learn how the 2020 participants worked closely with community members to advance shared goals for parks and help build the capacity, skills, and structures to ensure the work continues.
    • Colorado Safe Routes to School: Safe Routes to School in Times of Uncertainty - This webinar was tailored for the Colorado Safe Routes to School Program; however, practitioners from all over the country and backgrounds can benefit from the tools and guidance provided. Watch this webinar recording to learn how to keep Safe Routes to School programs running and encourage your community to stay active during COVID-19 and beyond.
  • Step by Step: How to Start a Walking School Bus at Your School - A Walking School Bus is a safe and fun way for children to get physical activity as they travel to and from school with adult supervision. This step-by-step guide outlines how to plan and implement a walking school bus for your school and includes proven tools, tips, and resources for a fast and easy start. 
  • The Wheels on the Bike Go Round & Round - This guide outlines how to put together and run a bike train program at your school, including initial planning considerations, logistics, promotion, training, and evaluation. The guide has tried-and-true methods, resources, and templates to get you off to a quick start. 
  • Keep Calm and Carry On to School: Improving Arrival and Dismissal for Walking and Biking - This infobrief provides information on how schools, districts, cities, counties, and community partners can address arrival and dismissal in school travel plans as well as other planning, policy, and programming efforts. Explore the strategies for arrival and dismissal in this resource as you make your Back to School plans.


Launch 4 Resources
  • Safe Routes Partnership Resource Library - Over the past year and a half, we have received various resources and tools from our greater Safe Routes to School community, including video links, toolkits, articles, and so much more. Submissions received through the Safe Routes to School Listserv and previous Covid-19 Resources Google sheet have now been added to our extensive resource library, which is both searchable and easy to use! The Safe Routes Partnership welcomes additional resources to share with our community. For future suggestions, we encourage you to submit a suggestion using this updated Google Form, or, if you have a more timely resource to share, please post it on the Safe Routes to School listserv so that it can be shared with our greater community in real-time. We will periodically curate and make updates to our online resource library accordingly.
  • Celebrating Walking, Rolling, and Safe Routes to Parks on International Walk to School Day: Ideas for Integrating Safe Routes to Parks into Walk to School Day Events - Walk to School Day is a fun way to encourage or re-energize children and families to regularly walk and roll to school. It can also be a unique opportunity to celebrate great parks and safe park access. This new fact sheet shares ideas for integrating Safe Routes to Parks elements into Walk to School Day – a win-win for Safe Routes to School and Safe Routes to Parks advocates. Parks advocates and Safe Routes to School practitioners alike can use this fact sheet for ideas on tying Safe Routes to Parks activities into their Walk to School Day events and keeping up the momentum beyond October.

  • Walking and Rolling to School Offer Real-Time Solutions to the Bus Driver Shortage, Rising Student Transportation Cost, Covid-19 Safety, and so Much More!This spring, schools were finishing a year like no other. Students of all ages were eagerly awaiting summer, and everyone was looking for relief from the pandemic. At the same time, many Safe Routes to School practitioners, advocates, parents, and caregivers across the country were starting to think about the upcoming 2021-2022 school year.  The reopening of school campuses was likely to bring additional transportation challenges than before the pandemic with bus driver shortages likely, Covid-19 precautions necessary, and expenses on the rise.


You can find more resources like this in our Resource Library.

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