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November 16, 2020

Commuting to School During Covid-19

by Samantha Huff

Although teachers, staff, and students no longer will be returning to school this month, it’s important for school administrators to plan and prepare for safe commuting when students do return. We’ve compiled a list of ways your school administration can prepare to support the commutes of your teachers, staff, and students.

Promote Commuting with Care
No matter what form of transportation your teachers, staff, or students use, encourage them to commute with care. That includes wearing a face covering/mask, using hand sanitizer, and staying 6 feet away from other passengers when possible.

  • Distribute goDCgo Commute with Care infographics via email, in person, or in common areas of your school. Download here: ENGLISH | SPANISH
  • Contact goDCgo to request commute with care packages (face coverings/masks and hand sanitizers) for your teachers and staff (limited quantities available). 

Metrorail and Bus
Support your students, teachers, and staff who ride Metrorail or Bus to school by following the tips below.

  • Make sure students have a current Kids Ride Free card​.
  • Provide PPE like a washable mask and hand sanitizer​.
  • Be flexible with arrival times. Bus and Metro schedules have been regularly delayed during the pandemic​.

Walking and Biking
Support your students, teachers, and staff that walk and bike to school by following the tips below.

  • Help teachers and staff gain access to Capital Bikeshare.
  • Order bike racks for your school and/or create more bike parking. Standard bike racks are provided by DDOT at no cost, while custom art racks can be purchased for $500-$1,500. Request a free bike rack assessment from DDOT.
  • Develop walking routes for students within walking distance.
  • Encourage parents to create bike and walk pools.
  • Assist teachers and staff with a new bike purchase or provide a bike subsidy.
  • Charter and private schools can implement an Employer-paid Bicycle Direct Benefit for teachers and staff. Learn more about offering a bike benefit on page 22 of our Employer Commuter Benefits Toolkit.
  • Create bike fix it stations; for example, a repair stand equipped with tools you’ll need for basic repairs, including tire levers, an adjustable wrench, a wheel-wrench, screwdrivers, and a set of Allen wrenches.

Carpooling
Support your students, teachers, and staff who carpool or are interested in carpooling to school by following the tips below.

  • Host virtual events with the support of goDCgo to help families find each other.
  • Work with goDCgo to match teachers and staff that live close to each and are interested in carpooling.
  • Educate carpoolers on safety measures including riding with the windows down, wearing face coverings/masks, keeping hand sanitizer in a central location, running the car’s ventilation system on non-recirculation mode, and limiting the number of passengers to allow for physical distancing.
  • Introduce teachers and staff to the Commuter Connection’s ridematching database.

Driving
When schools reopen, we anticipate that teachers, staff, and parents of students will choose to drive their personal vehicle as a protective measure, which will lead to traffic congestion during pick up and drop off times and increase the demand for parking at your school. goDCgo suggests encouraging those who live in walking/biking distance to choose these forms of transportation when returning to school.



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