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walk-to-school-international-day-teaticket-elementary-october-4-2017International Walk and Roll to School Day (iWalk) will take place in communities throughout Massachusetts on Wednesday, October 3. MassDOT encourages students, parents, and school officials to take part in this annual event to promote a healthy and active lifestyle by walking and biking to school, using safe routes and wearing appropriate clothing, including helmets if cycling.

“We are pleased to see a large number of schools planning once again to take part in this event which showcases how easy it can be to walk or to bike,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO, Stephanie Pollack. “When communities publicize and assist the public with active transportation all of us benefit due to a reduction in traffic congestion and vehicle emissions, which leads to a safer, healthier, and greener Massachusetts.”

Last year, more than 300 schools in Massachusetts participated in the event, joining millions of individuals across the United States and in 40 countries around the world participating in iWalk.  This year, the number of Massachusetts participating schools is expected to be around 300 again.

“The Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Program, through MassDOT, partners with public elementary and middle schools to encourage and educate students to safely walk and bike to school,” said Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Program Director, Diane Hanson. “This event is a great way for schools around Massachusetts to jumpstart their walking and biking initiatives for the school year. We hope to see them use this momentum to continue walking and biking to school year round.”

The Program also provides information, materials, and resources to support schools and communities with their local Safe Routes to School initiatives.  When a school registers for iWalk they can request bookmarks and stickers to distribute to participating students.  They may also receive certain safety items like backpack lights or reflective straps.

Through partnerships with schools across the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Program highlights the importance of pedestrian and bicycle safety. Last year this program held over 220 safety education events in addition to hundreds of walk and bike to school events. This year, the program continues to grow with the addition of new initiatives like Safe Routes to School-related 6th grade lesson plans. These lesson plans are easily integrated into curriculums, allowing older students to learn about safe and active transportation.

The Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Program, sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and with funds from the Federal Highway Administration, promotes safer routes for students to get to school by fostering partnerships between advocacy groups, law enforcement, education leaders, and public health departments. The program currently serves more than 800 public elementary and middle schools in 206 communities across the Commonwealth.

To find out how your school can participate in iWalk, contact Safe Routes to School Outreach Supervisor, Pat Kelsey, at 857-383-3810 or email at Patrick.Kelsey@dot.state.ma.us. Visit Safe Routes to School online.

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