Cape busing plan promotes healthy kids

May 20, 2014

A new busing plan for Cape Henlopen School District starts with what these days seems to be a novel idea: If you live within a half mile of school, you are expected to walk.

Walking every day, morning and afternoon, is among the healthiest habits that children and anyone else can adopt. Regular daily exer­cise promotes overall fitness and helps people of all ages control their weight, and if that’s not enough, numerous studies have shown simply walking every day helps prevent killers such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Besides promoting overall health, children who walk to school are likely to arrive calm, wide awake and ready to learn, so this plan should contribute not only to their fitness but to academic achievement as well.

District officials are walking the routes themselves to ensure the 300 children who will start walking next year, if the plan is ap­proved, will have a safe path to every school.

That personal commitment to the plan is a great first step toward reassuring parents their children will be safe, the key hurdle that must be overcome if the plan is to be adopted.

The proposed plan also calls for double bus runs, which means that after dropping students off at the middle schools, buses will make a second run to transport elementary students. This strategy will require parents at some schools to adjust to new schedules, but it will also mean many children – some of whom ride the bus for an hour to get to school – will have shorter bus rides to school.

These two changes – requiring more stu­dents to walk and shortening the time chil­dren spend on buses – are both good initia­tives that parents and other district residents should welcome. Many parents might even ask what took so long for these changes to be proposed.

As healthy and sound as this busing plan is on paper, it will require that everyone watch out for the safety of the hundreds of children who will now walk to school.

That should be seen not as a problem but as a benefit of the plan. When children can look to an entire community for support, they are likely to grow up not only safer, but also healthier, more confident and more ready for life ahead.

  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Laura Ritter, news editor, and Dennis Forney, publisher, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; Nick Roth, sports editor; and Chris Rausch, associate publisher.