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New wellness regulations coming to Jim Thorpe district

Published June 29. 2010 05:00PM

A proposed draft of new regulations, called Chapter 12, currently making its way through state government, means changes are in store for the Jim Thorpe School District. The regulations were discussed at the Jim Thorpe School Boards regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, by Shawn Kopp, Chair of the Jim Thorpe School District Wellness Council.

The regulations outline nutritional and wellness requirements schools must fulfill. The draft of these new regulations has been approved and is now under review, meaning that its passage is likely.

If and when they take effect, the new Chapter 12 regulations will mean that elementary students must participate in a minimum of 150 minutes of physical activity a week and that middle and high school students must participate in a minimum of 225 minutes a week, or respectively 30 and 45 minutes daily.

The new regulations also mean that teachers will no longer be able to use food, such as treats, and physical activity, such as denying recess, as rewards or punishment.

In terms of the additional staff and facilities that will be required when the changes take effect, cost was not discussed. Right now, the new regulations are designated as an unfunded mandate, meaning that if they pass it will be the burden of the district to find the money for them.

However, as Kopp pointed out, federal interest, such as the First Lady Michelle Obama's 'Let's Move' initiative and the 'Fit Kids Act' currently being discussed in Congress, mean that federal money may become available.

The time frame for the changes will be rolled out gradually. The district will not have to implement them all at once.

Kopp also assessed the District according to the School Health Index and found that it's weakest area was health promotion for staff. Better information and possible local gym membership discounts were discussed as possible solutions to the problem.

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