EAGAN, Minn., April 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- COVID-19 has impacted many rites of spring: everything from Major League Baseball's season opener to high school graduations. In a typical year, students are encouraged to pedal to class on Bike to School Day. Since the governor recently announced that students will not be returning to school this academic year, Minnesota Safe Routes to School has transformed this annual event into Bike to Anywhere Day, which will take place on May 6.
"Biking is one activity that we're encouraged to enjoy during this time of social distancing," said Jill Chamberlain, senior program manager of community health and health equity at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota's Center for Prevention. "Physical activity is good for your mental health, and it's a positive way for all of us to deal with the stress we're feeling related to COVID-19."
Minnesota Safe Routes to School is providing resources to help families celebrate Bike to Anywhere Day. These resources include a bike bingo card, crossword puzzle, word search, poster contest and mileage tracker.
Submissions for the poster contest must be received by May 15, 2020. There are two grade categories for judging: grades K-3 and grades 4–8. Poster contest winners will be recognized on the Minnesota Safe Routes to School website and Facebook page.
For Bike to Anywhere Day, students are encouraged to choose a destination and bike there solo or with members of their household. "Right now there may be fewer cars on the road, so it could be a great time for students to find a route to a destination they visit frequently and practice riding there," said Chamberlain. "Sometimes students have to try different routes to find the most comfortable and safe ride, so if they pick a new destination each week, when those businesses or places open up, they will know exactly how to bike there."
Participants are encouraged to maintain six feet of distance from people who are outside their household and practice other basic safety precautions like stopping at stop signs, signaling turns and wearing a helmet. Bikers who would like to share a photo may email it to [email protected] or post it the Minnesota Safe Routes to School Facebook page using the hashtag #MNBikeDay.
About Minnesota Safe Routes to School
Minnesota Safe Routes to School (MnSRTS) is an effort to improve walking and bicycling conditions for youth and to encourage more active lifestyles. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is working with partners across the state to help schools and communities develop Safe Routes to School plans and programs. Since the first federal funds were allocated to MnSRTS initiatives in 2005, programs across the state have made a profound impact on a student's ability to walk and bike to school. In 2009, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota's Center for Prevention started a monthly Safe Routes to School Network call and began providing technical assistance to schools and communities.
ABOUT THE CENTER FOR PREVENTION
The Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota delivers on Blue Cross' long-term commitment to improve the health of all Minnesotans by tackling the leading root causes of preventable disease: tobacco use, lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating. Funded through proceeds from Blue Cross' historic lawsuit against the tobacco industry, The Center collaborates with organizations statewide to increase health equity, transform communities and create a healthier state. Visit centerforpreventionmn.com for more information.
ABOUT BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF MINNESOTA
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (bluecrossmn.com), with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota's first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today as a health company: to promote a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. Blue Cross is a not-for-profit, taxable organization. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago.
SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota