Policy 504.11 - Physical Activity


In 2008, the Iowa Legislature adopted the Healthy Kids Act, which mandated changes to student nutrition, physical activity (PA) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) requirements. 

The new physical activity requirement requires elementary students, K-5, to have at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day at school. This does not have to be physical education (PE). Students can receive their physical activity through a combination of recess, PE, classroom and other activities. 

Middle and high school students must have at least 120 minutes of physical activity per week. But, middle and high school students don’t have to complete all of their minutes at school. The students, getting their physical activity outside of school hours, will enter into an agreement with the school district that the remainder of their minutes, not met at school, will be met outside of school as long as the outside activity includes movement, manipulation or exertion of the body. 

Daily Physical Education
The school district will provide physical education that:
• is daily (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 150 minutes a week for elementary students and 225 minutes a week for middle and high school students); 
• is for all students in grades K-12 for the entire school year;
• is taught by a certified physical education teacher;
• includes students with disabilities, students with special health-care needs may be provided in alternative educational settings; and,
• engages students in moderate to vigorous activity during at least 50 percent of physical education 
class time.

Daily Recess
Elementary schools should provide recess for students that:
• is at least 20 minutes a day; 
• is preferably outdoors; 
• encourages moderate to vigorous physical activity verbally and through the provision of space and equipment; and,
• discourages extended periods (i.e., periods of two or more hours) of inactivity. 

When activities, such as mandatory school-wide testing, make it necessary for students to remain indoors for long periods of time, schools should give students periodic breaks during which they are encouraged to stand and be moderately active.

Physical Activity and Punishment
Employees should not use physical activity (e.g., running laps, pushups) or withhold opportunities for physical activity (e.g., recess, physical education) as punishment.

Adopted: 10/18/09
Reviewed: 10/05/09; 11/17/14; 12/02/19

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