District Establishes ‘Idle Free Zones’

District Establishes ‘Idle Free Zones’   thumbnail162230
The Board of Education recognizes the need to promote the health and safety of students and staff and to protect the environment from harmful emissions found in bus, truck and passenger vehicle exhaust. Therefore, to the extent practicable, the District will minimize the idling of all vehicles parking or standing in the front of its schools or on school grounds by creating “Idle Free Zones” at all of its facilities. 
According to the District’s Idle Free Zone initiative, all engines should be shut off when waiting or when drivers expect to be parked for more than 10 seconds. Additionally, idling should be restricted to no more than five minutes, if necessary, for temperature control.
The suggestion for Idle Free Zones was presented to the Board by Frank P. Long Intermediate School parents Andrew and Donna Clarke. 

This initiative “offers the District the opportunity to educate parents, students, teachers, the bus company, delivery drivers, etc. on the harmful effects of tailpipe emissions on student health as well as climate change,” the Clarkes wrote in their email. “It is a low cost initiative with major benefits.”
According to the Environmental Protection Agency website, idling vehicles contribute to air pollution and emit air toxins, pollutants known or suspected to cause serious health effects. Limiting a vehicle’s idling time can dramatically reduce exposure to pollutants that may have a risk for children to develop asthma, respiratory problems and other adverse side effects.
During the January 22 meeting of the South Country Board of Education, President E. Anne Hayes said she was happy when she read the Clarke family’s email suggesting Idle Free Zones. “We are trying to increase participation of parents and community members and to create more of a home to school connection,” Ms. Hayes said. “We are always happy to consider ideas from the family and community that are good for everyone.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani said he is grateful to the Clarke family for their suggestion. “The creation of Idle Free Zones will educate the students and the faculty on the harmful effects of emissions on persons and the environment, and the district hopes that the community will be forthcoming in adopting this policy while visiting any of our campuses.”