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Experts share how to safely get out with kids this summer in SF (and have fun!)

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What parents and caregivers need to know about getting out in San Francisco

Outdoor activity and nature are so important for our mental and physical health during coronavirus. But how do parents and caretakers get kids outside safely in their neighborhoods and beyond? 

Walk San Francisco, together with the San Francisco Safe Routes to School Partnership, recently hosted a webinar about safely getting outside. Our panel of experts from San Francisco’s Department of Public Health, California Pacific Medical Center, and YBike provided a wealth of up-to-date information. Some especially helpful facts and ideas included:

Walking, biking, and transit 

  • Biking is a fantastic social distancing activity, and also an affordable option for families to get around with limited Muni service. 
  • YBike has an “Earn a Bike” program where students can learn valuable lifelong biking skills and earn a bike they can take home. This program has been an incredible help for families experiencing financial hardship, with partners like San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s Bike it Forward and Bici Del Pueblo also working to connect people with this resource.
  • Take advantage of Slow Streets and car-free streets including JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park, Shelley Drive in McLaren Park, and Twin Peaks. These are great places to safely explore San Francisco on foot, scooter, and bicycle with plenty of room for social distancing.
  • If you’re heading out on Muni with kids, note that masks are required and the number of riders is limited for everyone’s safety. Buses are fully sanitized at the beginning and end of each line.
  • (NOTE: Check out our ideas for family-friendly walks, including a neighborhood scavenger hunt.)

Transmission, testing, and treatment

  • Wear a face mask when you are outside to protect yourself, your family, and your community.
    • Children 0-2 years should not wear a face covering for risk of suffocating.
    • Children 3-12 years can wear face-covering under adult supervision.
    • Children 13 years or older are required to wear a face covering.
    • When schools are once again in-person, all children will likely be required. to wear a face mask at school at all times… so this is great practice.
  • Do not be afraid to go to the hospital or doctor’s office! Doctors are reporting that many asthma, appendicitis, and diabetic patients are delaying treatment for these conditions, resulting in more severe symptoms. Doctors and healthcare workers in San Francisco are managing hospitals safely, and emphasize that it is safe to go to the doctor or hospital.
  • Pets pose a low risk and are unlikely to carry or transmit COVID-19. 

Please see the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s website for the most up-to-date guidance.

Check out our webinar recording for many more helpful tips and ideas for getting outside safely. 

Thank you again to our incredible panel:

  • Matt Dove, Director of Bicycle Programs, YBike
  • Tracey Packer, Director of Community Health Equity and Promotion, SF Department of Public Health (Activated Disaster Service Title: Team Lead for the Schools and Childcare Hub)
  • Dr. Vincent Tamariz,  Medical Director of the Pediatric Emergency Department at California Pacific Medical Center

This webinar was presented by SF Safe Routes to School Partnership with Walk SF. Together, we are working to help youth and families safely get to school and beyond. Do you have ideas or questions about what your commute to school in San Francisco may look like this coming fall? Please contact our Families and Schools Coordinators, Sam Kwan ( or Vernon Haney (