Originally published Feb. 4, 2019 in the Bristol Herald Courier.
By Valerie Honeycutt Spears
The mother of two Fayette County, Ky., students is questioning how much physical activity her children get at school.
Janine Schmedding-Bartley, who has two children at Millcreek Elementary School, said her “first-grader hasn’t been outside since October.
At a public hearing, she said her fifth-grade daughter and her first-grade son get far less physical activity than was offered at schools in Michigan. The family moved from there to Lexington this academic year.
Schmedding-Bartley said her fifth-grade daughter gets inside recess frequently “but it’s computer time and not social time, and not really physical activity time.”
She hopes that Fayette County Public Schools will have more physical activity goals, she said.
In Michigan, her fifth-grader was getting at least 40 minutes of outside recess every day unless wind chills were below zero, she said. In Lexington, “if she’s lucky and they actually go outside she might get 15 minutes.”
After the hearing, Debbie Boian, the Fayette County health and wellness coordinator, shared the mother’s concerns with school board members at their regular monthly meeting.
Boian plans to contact the Millcreek wellness committee that includes the physical education teacher, and set up mentoring programs between teachers, she said.
“While we recognize that the use of the school day is totally the school’s decision, we are going to share some resources with the P.E. teacher at Millcreek so they can pass those on to classroom teachers,” Boian said. That means physical education teachers will help teachers add more physical activities in the classroom.
“Getting up and moving around helps kids focus” in the classroom, she said.
Schmedding-Bartley said she went to school district officials first before talking to school administrators about making changes.