Students at Summit Hall Elementary School in Gaithersburg arrived to a lively Walk to School Day event Wednesday morning. Montgomery County leaders, fire/rescue personnel and playful mascots interacted with children while promoting safe travel to school. It is a fun event that encourages kids to come to school excited and get home safely, County Councilmember Will Jawando said.
The event is observed annually on the first Wednesday of October. As winter approaches, some middle and high school students will walk before sunrise, said County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) Chief Scott Goldstein. He encouraged those students to remove distractions like earbuds so they can listen for approaching cars. They should walk in appropriate areas like sidewalks and cross the street at crosswalks and in well-lit areas. Goldstein said drivers need to slow down, eliminate distractions and pay attention to students. They should not talk on the phone and should be attentive and focused when driving in a school zone.
As the county tries to mitigate effects of climate change, walking is a great way to get to school without emitting carbon dioxide and other pollutants, County Department of Transportation Director Chris Conklin said. The event is also in line with the county’s Vision Zero initiative that aims to end serious and fatal collisions by 2030.