Recess in Elementary Schools


Priority: High Student Performance
Category: Student Health Issues
Policy ID Number: HSP-S-000

Policy Title: Policy regarding physical education in the public schools

Current Policy Date: 01/09/2003 - Amended 04/07/2005
  1. To address issues such as overweight, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and Type II diabetes, students enrolled in kindergarten through eighth grades are to participate in physical activity as part of the district’s physical education curriculum. Elementary schools should consider the benefits of and move toward having 150 minutes per week with a certified physical education teacher throughout the 180-day school year. Middle schools should consider the benefits of and move toward having 225 minutes per week of Healthful Living Education with certified health and physical education teachers throughout the 180-day school year.

  2. The physical education course shall be the environment in which students learn, practice and receive assessment on developmentally appropriate motor skills, social skills, and knowledge as defined in the North Carolina Healthful Living Standard Course of Study and foster support and guidance for being physically active. In order to meet enhanced goals, these classes should be the same class size as other regular classes.


  1. Structured/unstructured recess and other physical activity (such as, but not limited to, physical activity time, physical education or intramurals) shall not be taken away from students as a form of punishment. In addition, severe and/or inappropriate exercise may not be used as a form of punishment for students.

  2. A minimum of 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity shall be provided by schools for all K-8 students daily. This requirement can be achieved through a regular physical education class and/or through activities such as recess, dance, classroom energizers, or other curriculum based physical education activity programs. However, such use of this time should complement and not substitute for the physical education program.

  3. The physical activity required by this section must involve physical exertion of at least a moderate to vigorous intensity level and for a duration sufficient to provide a significant health benefit to students.