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  • Walk-N-Roll Week and idle-free zones mean clean air for schools

    Aug 29, 2022 | Read More News
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    The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) Clean Air Progrramand the Pima County Health Department REACH program invite schools to participate this fall in Walk-N-Roll to School Week and Idle-Free Schools. The two programs support healthy air quality around school campuses.

    During Walk-N-Roll to School Week, October 3-7, schools encourage students to walk, bike, scooter, skateboard or rollerblade to school. These active ways to get to school improve student health, reduces congestion, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles near schools.

    Walk-N-Roll to School Week is also a fun way to promote physical fitness, build community, and inspire families to use their feet more often for their school commute. 
    children walking and biking to school
    “Walk-N-Roll to school week is a fun event,” said PDEQ Director Barbara Escobar. “It’s a great chance for parents and students to become aware of the health benefits of being more active and taking action to minimize vehicle emissions and traffic congestion around schools.” 

    To participate, school leaders should read details and complete and the registration form on the Walk-N-Roll to School webpage. After registration is complete, promotional materials will be provided, including flyers, banner, participation tickets for raffle, stickers, and one Razor scooter as the raffle prize. Please note that schools also have an option to host the event during a different week if that is preferred.

    Los Amigos Elementary School in the Sunnyside School District has implemented a successful walking school bus program every week for many years. “Walk-N-Roll to School builds bonds and strengthens our school community as staff, students, and families enjoy an early morning walk together on Wednesday mornings from nearby neighborhoods and bus stops to school,” said Jennifer Flores, Los Amigos librarian and walking school bus coordinator.

    The Idle-Free Schools Program establishes Idle-Free pick-up zones to reduce student exposure to toxic air pollution emitted by idling vehicles. Air monitoring at schools shows significantly elevated levels of toxins due to parents idling their vehicles while waiting to pick up their kids. Public health research links vehicle exhaust fumes to increases in childhood asthma, allergies, heart and lung disease, and cancer. Children’s developing lungs are especially at risk for injury because they inhale more air per pound of body weight.

    School leaders may register their school on the Idle-Free Schools webpage. “Participating in the Idle-Free Schools Program further solidifies each school’s commitment to protecting student health, the environment, and our community,” said Escobar.

    PDEQ is committed to supporting schools in implementing their Idle-Free School efforts by providing participating schools with:

    - Signs that can be placed in drop-off and pick-up locations at the school
    - Idle-free bookmarks and static-cling decals for parents/guardians
    - Guidance on how to create student-led Idle-Free School campaigns
    - Sample Idle-Free School policies
    - Sample letters to parents, delivery drivers, and bus drivers

    Amphitheater School District’s Innovation Academy’s Idle-Free School campaign is highlighted in this video.

    If teachers and principals want to learn more about environmental topics, PDEQ offers free presentations to groups of all ages on a wide variety of subjects, including air quality, climate change, and pollution prevention.