Huntington’s Wellness Policy Aims for Healthy Students

The Huntington School District's wellness policy strives to promote healthy children.

September 12, 2016

The Huntington School District is striving to have its classrooms filled with healthy students and is doing whatever it can to make that goal become reality. Trustees recently readopted administrative regulations designed to implement the district’s wellness policy during the 2016/17 school year.

Huntington originally adopted the policy on June 19, 2006. It helped usher in a number of changes to past practices. The policy sets standards for food and beverages sold or provided to students during the school day and it provides rules governing the use of food in classrooms. Even fundraising activities during school hours is addressed.

“As a district, we continue to take the health and well-being of our students very seriously,” Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “Beyond standard safety and security needs, we devote ongoing attention and resources to ensure that our children are well nourished and physically active. This policy was developed accordingly, and has been and will be reviewed annually. We also plan to convene the district’s Health and Wellness Committee several times this year to investigate related grants and the potential for new opportunities that will contribute further to students’ good health habits.”

The Huntington School District's wellness policy encourages healthy students.

“It is the policy of the district that food shall not be used in the classroom, except as a part of a snack brought from home for the individual consumption of students,” states the section on use of food in the classroom. “Sharing of food and beverages should be discouraged given concerns about allergies and other restrictions on some student’s diets.”

The policy forbids food from being used as an incentive or reward or for instructional purposes (except in home and career skills classes), birthday celebrations or holiday or seasonal celebrations or multi-cultural events.

Adoption of the original policy eliminated the practice of bringing in birthday cupcakes for classmates. The policy forbids “fundraising activities involving the sale of food (including candy) to students during the school day. Schools will encourage fundraising activities that promote physical activity and will provide a list of alternative activities.”

The regulations also call for a minimum of 20 minutes of “supervised recess, preferably outdoors. School personnel should verbally encourage moderate to vigorous physical activity, whether indoors or outdoors.”

Students are required to spend “at least 50 percent of physical education class time participating in moderate to vigorous physical activity.” Nutrient standards for snacks, beverages and meals sold or provided to students are aimed at restricting fats, sugars, artificial sweeteners and colorings, nitrates, MSG, sodium and caffeine.

Principals are responsible for implementing and monitoring the regulations in their buildings. The practices have been explained to faculty and support staff during meetings in each building. The regulations are reviewed annually, or whenever it is necessary.