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Safe and healthy journeys to school

24 September 2020

Now more than ever, safe and healthy journeys to school are crucial. An epidemic on wheels has led road traffic injuries to be the #1 killer of those ages 5-29. Today, young people are further threatened by a global pandemic.

The journey to school now poses a double threat – road traffic, and COVID-19. Here, students queue for school alongside a road in South Africa while following COVID-19 protocols.

The journey to and from school must be safe from both of these threats. Many of the solutions for one threat also address the other - such as reducing urban vehicle speed, promoting walking and cycling, avoiding unnecessary vehicle journeys, and creating more space for drop-off and pick-up - key interventions as COVID-19 is less likely to spread outdoors. These measures enable safe physical distancing and help to lower air pollution which emerging evidence suggests may exacerbate COVID-19.

UNICEF, with support from Child Health Initiative (CHI) and members such as Save the Children, has issued  guidance to help manage COVID-19 risks and to ensure the safest, healthiest journeys to school possible for all children, including those with disabilities. CHI is also hosting a global database to share examples of safe and healthy school journeys during the pandemic. This includes examples from UK and many other countries. 

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