Gym opt-out on track at BC

District allowed 46 seniors to drop P.E. class this year under state regulations

— Some Bethlehem High School students were given the opportunity to opt out of physical education class this year in a new pilot program that could potentially be expanded to help cut costs for the district.

Health and Physical Education Supervisor Fred Powers presented further details about the program to the school board on Wednesday, Oct. 16, and provided with an update on the first few weeks of the pilot program’s implementation.

“The students started the school year in a class,” said Powers, so students could opt to re-join their class at some point.

The program was only open to seniors and participation was subject to a number of requirements. The state Education Department allows for P.E. Opt out if the conditions are met.

Seniors who planned to play two varsity sports could opt out, with the stipulation that the students had played the same sports the year before. The district wanted to make sure students weren’t planning to try out for sports teams just to get out of physical education. Any students cut from the team, or who quit the sport they were playing, would need to begin taking physical education again.

Students who did not play two varsity sports could still opt out if they participated in a sports activity outside of the district. The person instructing the activity had to be certified and students needed to be able to reach achievements while participating in the program.

Powers gave the examples of Karate classes or horseback riding lessons, because the students would receive belts as they progressed or participate in competitions. Powers said 100 hours of instruction is needed.

For any student to participate in the program, certain fitness standards needed to be met in the previous year’s state physical fitness exam in P.E. class. The student would also need to show knowledge of physical fitness subject material.

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