Originally published July 5, 2021 by Community Impact Sugar Land/Missouri City.
By Claire Shoop
Fort Bend ISD approved an update to the district's wellness policy, which dictates in part recess, physical education and lunch requirements, ahead of the 2021-22 school year.
The district's School Health Advisory Council helped to develop the revised policy, and a campus wellness committee will make sure schools stay in compliance with the policy next year.
“Although certain campuses may already have some of these practices in place, we are thankful the board recognizes the importance of formally incorporating best practices into the district’s wellness policy to ensure all FBISD students benefit," SHAC Chair Melanie Anbarci said in a June 29 press release.
Under the revised policy, elementary students will have access to 30 minutes of recess daily, with a minimum of 20 minutes of unstructured physical activity. Recess will be offered outdoors as weather conditions allow.
As part of PE, middle school students will be able to participate in 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily or for 225 minutes over two weeks for five semesters.
The policy also clarifies that physical activities cannot be withheld as punishment unless approved by campus administration.
“According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, recess is a necessary break in the day for optimizing a child’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive development,” Anbarci said in the release.
While meal schedules will vary from campus to campus based on enrollment and lunchroom capacity, students will have a minimum of 10 minutes to eat breakfast and 20 minutes to eat lunch. The release said this will guarantee students have adequate time to eat meals at school.
In the release, the district said the wellness policy is in place so students can reach their full potential inside and outside of the classroom and are equipped to make healthy lifestyle choices.