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South Colonie plans health class cuts

"Presently our students come to physical education three times a week for 30 minutes. So, we need to create an additional 30 minutes of physical education per week," Foust explained. "We're going to have them come down for 15 minutes on the other two days."

Foust said the activities the students will participate in on the other two days will be fitness/wellness oriented and deal with health aspects, as well as water safety and traffic safety.

While health subjects will be incorporated into physical education courses and other core curriculum courses in the absence of health class, several audience members at Tuesday's hearing were concerned about health-related instruction and the loss of certified health teachers.

Three out of nine out those positions will be cut districtwide, according to Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Tim Backus.

"Most districts don't have a certified health teacher delivering health at those levels," Superintendent of Schools Jonathan Buhner said. "We can't solve all the childhood obesity and diabetes concerns, so we need to do our part as a school district. ... The challenge we had was that it is mandated. It becomes a question of, 'How do you fit it all into the schedule?'"

Backus said the main goal of the district moving forward is to ensure that topics that were being taught in elementary health are carried over to other subjects, but not neglected.

"The goal is to get the major concepts that are covered right now into the curriculum," said Backus, explaining that he has been working with the science and social studies departments, as a lot of the topics that are included in the health program can be incorporated into those subject matters. ""

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