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Physical Activity Requirements Discussed By School Board

By Staff | Jul 30, 2009

Steps to comply with a state mandated physical activity requirement for students were discussed by members of the Emmetsburg Community Schools Board of Education during their meeting on July 20.

“There’s a new law that requires all students in K-5 to have at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day,” explained High School/Middle School Principal Jay Jurrens. “Also, all students in 6-12 have to have 120 minutes of physical activity a week.”

In 2008, the Iowa Legislature enacted “The Healthy Kids Act,” which requires the new physical activity requirements.

He continued, “As a school district, we are obligated to keep track of those minutes. That’s a real challenge. The state has suggested that we use a contract to monitor how students fulfill this requirement.”

Jurrens noted that because of recess, the K-5 physical activity requirement was already being met.

“My plan is for the fifth and sixth graders to have a recess immediately after lunch instead of going to homeroom every other day,” Jurrens stated. “So, when they don’t have P.E., they’ll be going to recess after lunch instead of going to their homeroom.”

“The 7-12 students will be a little more challenging,” he added.

Jurrens explained that school activities such as athletics, cheerleading, marching band, and show choir and non-school activities like non-school sports teams, gymnastics, dance, and individualized exercise programs may count toward the 120 minute weekly requirement, as well.

If students aren’t involved in any of the above activities, they will need to attend an extra weekly P.E. class.

“My intent right now with the schedule is to assign them to a Wednesday P.E. class that will be just for those kids who aren’t in any outside activities,” Jurrens said.

At the start of the 2009-2010 school year, high school and middle school students and parents will be required to sign a physical activity contract noting the amount of time spent on certain physical activities each week.

Jurrens added that the pop machines at the high school/middle school would also be removed to comply with “The Healthy Kids Act.” The Gatorade/juice machine would remain, however.

“This is really going to be tough,” said Board President Karla Anderson.

“Without a doubt, it is,” Jurrens agreed. “We’re obligated to keep track of everyone’s physical activity.”

“It might be easier just to create a class and have everyone go through it,” offered Don Hagen, board member.

“Unfortunately, we’d have to hire someone extra to do that. I’m not sure that it’s a good time right now to do that either, but that is an option. It’d be a lot easier,” Jurrens responded.

Jurrens added that, in addition to the increased physical activity requirement, the Class of 2012 will have to attend a CPR class before they graduate.

“They won’t have to be certified in it, but they will have to take it,” said Jurrens. “It’ll be another thing that we have to figure out.”

In other business, the board members approved Kort Freeman as head boys’ golf coach and Travis Birkey as middle school assistant football coach. Bruce Nelson was approved as a volunteer assistant football coach. Freeman’s approval was contingent upon a background check and coaching authorization.