With the start of a new school year, the Reading School Department and Reading Climate Advisory Committee (RCAC) are launching a campaign to eliminate unnecessary vehicle idling near our schools. This program will benefit our children’s health and environment. Idling cars and buses emit air pollutants, including carbon dioxide that contributes to global warming and fine particles that can trigger asthma attacks. Children are more susceptible to asthma because their lungs are not fully developed and they breathe 50 percent more by volume than adults. Asthma is the most common chronic illness among children. More than 250,000 adults and 110,000 children in Massachusetts have been diagnosed with asthma, the highest reported rate of asthma in the country! We all need to work together to reduce air pollution from vehicles.
Recognizing the vulnerability of children and the fact that school zones can potentially have high levels of exhaust fumes from buses, delivery vehicles and cars dropping off and picking up students, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts enacted legislation (540 CMR 27.00) in 2009 to restrict idling of motor vehicles in the vicinity of school grounds. The Reading School Committee has established Policy EEAJ “Policy Regarding Motor Vehicle Idling on School Grounds”, which is attached for your information. As required by the law and policy, a sign citing the regulation has been posted at each school. Additional signs with a gentler reminder to turn off vehicles for the health of children are located in school parking lots and along the streets where parents typically park to wait for their children.
Please comply with the law and help us protect the health of our children and our planet by following these simple guidelines:
• Turn off your vehicle engine when waiting near any school
• When the weather is very cold or very hot, turn on vehicle in order to run heat or air-conditioning for a total of no more than 1 minute every 15 minutes
• Keep your engine tuned for efficient fuel combustion and to minimize emissions
• If possible, have your child(ren) walk or bike to and from school. They’ll benefit from the exercise.
• Carpool with your neighbors to reduce the number of cars driving to and from schools
• If you drive to school to pick up young child(ren), please park your vehicle, turn it off, and walk to meet your child(ren).
Please clip and have your child bring the signed pledge to his/her teacher: