Open Community Use Toolkit Is Updated!

SC (Oct. 2018) SC Department of Health and Environmental Control Division of Nutrition, Obesity and Physical Activity and Eat Smart Move More South Carolina worked together to update the toolkit, “Breaking Barriers to Physical Activity through Open Community Use.”

“Open community use, allowing free community access to schools’ outdoor recreational facilities, is an effective and affordable strategy to combating obesity and increasing physical activity . In 2014, the South Carolina School Boards Association recommended all school districts adopt the open community use model policy (See Appendix A. South Carolina School Boards Association Adopted Model Policy). Many school districts are reluctant to adopt an open community use policy due to concerns with liability. However, South Carolina currently provides clear statutory liability protection for open community use of schools’ facilities for recreation. This document provides guidance to school administrators, teachers, and community members interested in adopting and implementing open community use as a strategy to increase physical activity.

As of 2016, South Carolina has the 12th highest rate of adult obesity in the nation, and lack of physical activity is a contributing factor to this epidemic. Only one-half of adults and less than a quarter of high school students in South Carolina were meeting the recommended amounts of physical activity guidelines. To change this trend and build a new culture of health, South Carolinians must have access to safe, affordable, and  convenient places to be physically active.

Adults and youth are more likely to be physically active in communities where schools allow open community use of their outdoor playgrounds, tracks, courts, and other outdoor recreational facilities. Schools and communities throughout the state and nation are working together to increase physical activity by allowing free access to outdoor recreational facilities before or after school hours.”

We hope to create communities where being physically active is not only easier but also safe and fun. In the near future, we hope to see the York County school districts embrace the Open Community Use model policy with more schools practicing and promoting Open Community Use.

Read about the Status of Open Community Use in South Carolina in 2017, including seeing which SC school districts have adopted it, here:

Read more here –



Josie, age 5, learns how to bike ride in her local school’s parking lot on a weekend in 2017. The flat blacktop, amongst a very hilly neighborhood, make this the ideal community location for local children to learn to bicycle (and, ultimately, bike to school!).