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Students Spend Recess Time on Trails and Sidewalks

Scott Kobs is a physical education teacher in St. Charles, MN. He’s worked for the district since 1996 and is passionate about coaching and the outdoors. Scott attended the Walk! Bike! Fun! educator workshop, and the school district was later awarded a bike fleet through the Minnesota Department of Transportation. 

Since the WBF workshop, biking and walking in St. Charles has been embraced wholeheartedly by the town. Through a SHIP grant, the areas around the school have upgraded their pedestrian infrastructure, including colored curbs and designated crosswalks. St. Charles also holds an annual all-ages triathlon to further encourage physical activity.

The St. Charles school district is facing dual challenges to start the ’20-21 school year: COVID and construction. Due to a much needed renovation, the elementary school will be without a recess area for the 2020-21 school year. 

As a result, Scott and the other P.E. teachers are getting creative and plan to use the town as their school yard. Students will be able to walk and bike during their recess time on the trails and sidewalks around town — under close supervision, of course. 

In order to avoid overcrowding on the busses, students who live within two miles of the school will be asked to walk, bike, or be driven to school under the district’s new COVID policy. To help parents and students prepare for these changes, Scott shared resources from BikeMN’s WBF curriculum and MN Bicycling Handbook with parents. 

Without a recess yard and with fewer students taking the bus to school, St. Charles plans on beginning the year with a refresher about rules of the road.

“Our kids are trained for that because we’ve done BikeMN stuff before with our fleet. We’re going to be ahead because our kids are trained. We’re going to have a big boost of review in the first couple weeks of school,” Scott explained.