Too many bused to school on P.E.I.: report
School plans innovative approach to getting kids walking
Not enough children on P.E.I. are walking or biking to school, says the 2013 Active Healthy Canada report, and that could be contributing to poor health.
The report says more kids on P.E.I. are getting rides to school, either by bus or by car, than anywhere else in Canada, at a rate 40 per cent higher than the national average.
Students getting rides to school
"Kids who use active transportation to get to and from school can accumulate up to 45 more minutes daily of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity compared to kids who to school via car, train or bus," the report says.
But the solution is not always easy. Englewood School in Crapaud, west of Charlottetown, sits on the busy Trans-Canada Highway. The highway's unpaved shoulder doesn't make for a safe walk. All the students arrive by bus or car.
Many students also live many kilometres from the rural school.
"It would be nice to walk or bike to school," said grade nine student Noah Murphy.
"I can't walk or bike to school. That would be like two hours in the morning."
Englewood can't get rid of buses, but starting in September will change where they drop off students. The school is putting in a one-kilometre path from the village to the school. Principal Randy Reardon said the plan is to bus kids to the village, and have them walk with staff to the school.
Reardon hopes the idea of the walk will catch on with students being driven to school as well.
"After you get that exposure where all the kids know that's happening then there may be days, 'Mom could you drop me off,'" said Reardon.
The province is also working to reduce the growing obesity rate. Health Minister Doug Currie said times are changing and the province needs new strategies.
"Parents aren't standing on their front steps calling their kids in when the streetlights come on," said Currie.
"Those days are over."
He said the province will launch its plan to get kids active in the fall.