Harrisonburg school board discusses walk zone plans

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 11:17 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Harrisonburg school leaders are working on safe ways for students to get to school when they go back to in-person learning.

The Harrisonburg public works staff presented to the school board Tuesday night newly created walk zones for the schools.

“I think the key for everyone to understand is it’s all based on safety and infrastructure,” Craig Mackail, the chief operating officer of Harrisonburg City Schools, said. “It’s not based on distance. It’s based on where we think we can get kids safely to school and safely back from school.”

The factors that went into selected the zones include the evaluation of areas within 1/4 to 3/4 of a mile walk to school; the boundaries of the walk zones and any improvements that would need to happen to make them safer; as well as where buses will be driving along the roads.

“Roadways with sidewalks are considered safe,” Harrisonburg director of public works Tom Hartman said. “Neighborhood roads without sidewalks are generally considered safe in our view and are included in walk zones. In a few cases neighborhood roads with relatively high volumes may require some things that would need to be done by public works.”

The school system will also focus on educating students and their families on using these zones safely.

This is all part of an effort to reduce the amount of students on buses in the eventual safe return to in-person school.

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