Elementary and middle school students throughout Riverside County will forgo riding to school Wednesday and take a stroll instead in recognition of “Walk to School Day” — part of an effort to promote youth exercise and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods.
Youths from dozens of schools countywide are expected to take part in the annual event, during which parents, teachers and community-based volunteers form “walking school buses” to shepherd children to their campuses, according to organizers.
The walks will generally begin about 7 a.m.
“Walking to school is a great way to not only stay active, but also practice safe walking behaviors,” Riverside police Sgt. Ryan Wilson said. “With many students returning to in-person instruction this year, `Walk to School Day’ is a valuable learning tool that benefits students at the start of the school year.”
The Riverside Police Department will have patrol officers dedicated to ensuring safe passage for students and their guides.
Other agencies assigning personnel include the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, the Corona Police Department and Menifee Police Department.
Grade schools in the western and eastern county regions are expected to see student involvement, though the scale was not known.
Last year’s walk was suspended due to the coronavirus public health lockdowns.
Organizers said walking programs promote a reduction in childhood obesity and underscore the importance of pedestrian access and safety on public rights of way.
Students, parents, guardians and teachers were reminded to stay on marked walking paths or sidewalks, use crosswalks, remain vigilant when going through right-of-ways and try to wear visible clothing for the benefit of motorists.
More information is available at www.walkbiketoschool.org/.