Meeting new PE requirements may mean cutting recess or time off of other classes, once the requirements of 150 to 225 minutes minutes a week are in effect in the 2017-2018 school year.
In Oregon, schools will be required to offer 150 minutes per week of PE to students in kindergarten through fifth grade, and 225 minutes per week for students in sixth through eighth grade. Many schools are concerned about meeting those requirements.
“We can meet it, but you won’t like the way it’s implemented,” said Jim Green, deputy executive director of the Oregon School Boards Association. “Given the limited hours we have in a day, this is going to cut into something.”
The requirement was approved in 2007 in reaction to childhood obesity rates. PE classes were disappearing in schools. The state had a decade to phase in the PE instruction, but during the recession many schools cut PE programs and teachers. Those cuts have not been restored.
“I am absolutely not a fan of this requirement. I think it has so many negative consequences,” said Lora Nordquist, assistant superintendent at Bend-La Pine Schools. “Mandating 90 more minutes of PE a week is not going to fix childhood obesity.”
Some schools are also facing logistical and space challenges. Many schools hold lunch and PE in the same space. Winter weather does not allow for the use of outdoor spaces.