How we are managing COVID-19 and RYDA

It is heartbreaking to watch the news unfold around the world with the terrible consequences of COVID-19.  Just as we’ve always taught our students at RYDA, a safe following distance is essential to the well-being of everyone we share our roads with.  It is time for us all to step back and create a safe social following distance.

As public transport is either shut-down or to be avoided and more drivers are heading onto our roads feeling anxious and stressed, now is not the time to leave our most vulnerable without the critical road safety strategies and motivations that come from RYDA.

RYDA is an essential youth development program – so many of the topics we discuss in RYDA, like identifying and controlling mindstate, understanding personal risk profiles and thinking socially are such critical tools at time where uncertainty and fear is in abundance.  We are making sure you don’t have to wait for the world to return to ‘normal’ or for the re-scheduled face-to-face RYDA workshops to give your students the tools they need now to navigate the unknown.

We are so fortunate that our incredible sponsors (in Australia & New Zealand: BOC and Bridgestone | in Australia: Toyota, MTAA Super and Boral and | in New Zealand: NZ Steel and AMI) support us in a way that allows RSE to continue providing the RYDA Program to our schools, even while the RYDA workshops are put on hold.

In consultation with the team, the RSE staff are accepting significantly reduced hours while there are no workshop excursions running but retaining momentum and enthusiasm to support schools and the community with ‘RYDA 5.0 at a Social Distance’.

This is a changing situation and we will continue to adapt.  Here’s what ‘RYDA 5.0 at a Social Distance’ looks like right now (as at 24 April):

RYDA 5.0 at a Social Distance

  • We’ve been creating extra distance lesson ideas, boredom busters, Kahoot! quizzes and homeroom challenges that we’re sending to our schools.  These short activities help students stay connected, while learning a little more about road safety and building resilience and life skills in these uncertain times.
  • We are getting in touch with schools and sending resources that they can forward to their parent network to support them as they take a bigger role in their child’s learning. Many will be finding more time for driving lessons (where government guidelines permit) and many will find themselves feeling stressed and under extra pressure on the roads.  We’ve designed a tool that, through a school’s partnership with RYDA will help them, help their community of parents, carers and whānau.
  • We’ve opened our ‘help line’ for parents and teachers needing advice as they take on topics that may be outside their comfort zones. Need help or resources on a road safety topic?  Drop us a line at
  • As students start to head back to school, we’re hand selecting some of our great resources to use in the classroom.  When the time comes and the workshop is re-scheduled, we’ll tie in the classroom learnings and student experience with our workshop sessions, using the work students have done at home and in the classroom as critical building blocks.
  • Even if excursions can’t be run, when it is safe to do so, we’ll bring the RYDA workshop to schools.  We will be offering the RYDA workshop in-school, where applicable and within school and government guidelines.
  • We are following all Government guidelines and advice (differing by jurisdiction) as to large gatherings and excursions.  We have, and will continue to postpone RYDA workshops in consultation with venues and schools where guidelines are in place.
  • We’re continuing to be active on our social media platforms – bringing our community critical road safety messages and strategies.
  • We’ve been reaching out to our community of Rotary volunteers, sending ‘how to’ videos and blogs on a variety of topics (such as connecting with What’s App, completing an online grocery shop and staying fit in isolation).  We’re here to help them as much as we can through these difficult times.

Our team is on stand-by to work with schools to co-design materials that will assist with classroom and distance teaching.  We are also here to give teachers and parents road safety advice as they tackle a topic for which they may need some expert back-up.


As a community based organisation, we will continue in our mission to keep our community safe.

We thank our wonderful partners for making this possible.  To our hard-working Rotarian volunteers, who have already put so much into making RYDA 5.0 available in their communities, we say thank you and send you our very best wishes.  We pledge to stand side-by-side, as we always have, to help you deliver the RYDA workshops locally when that becomes a reality.  Meanwhile, we’ll keep helping your schools and community build a strong road safety culture through our online and bespoke resources.

We are all on a bumpy road for the foreseeable future and we wish you, our community of partners, facilitators, venues, schools, parents and students a safe journey.  Together we will overcome.

With warm wishes,

The RYDA team.


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From one of our teachers re RYDA 5.0 at a Social Distance:

A fantastic initiative, we will certainly use it with our students, your support in keeping our youth engaged is appreciated.


Here’s what one of our students told us about RYDA 5.0:

“Before coming to RYDA I had 103 hours in my logbook, attended the Safer Drivers course and did a couple of driving lessons, one of them being the Keys2Drive lesson. I thought I was a competent driver, ready to be driving on my own, but the Drive S.O.S session showed me how much I still needed to learn, for example, the video about what it’s like to be a truck driver really opened my eyes to how inexperienced I still am. It also tied well into the overall message of the session: that I need to be thinking for other people, anticipating that they might do something unexpected because other people are very unpredictable. I will certainly be me cautious next time I drive and pay close attention to what other people on or along the road may be doing”.