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Huntington’s Wellness Policy Strives for Healthy Students

Huntington's wellness policy regulations aim for healthy students.

September 25, 2017

The Huntington School District is striving to have its classrooms filled with healthy students and is doing everything that it can to make that goal become reality. Trustees recently readopted administrative regulations designed to implement the district’s wellness policy during the 2017/18 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.

“Student health and wellness remains a priority in the Huntington School District,” Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “Aspects of regulations will now be reviewed in the context of the recent food service bid approval for the current school year. We also hope to re-task the district’s Health & Wellness Committee in the same context.

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.”

“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.

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.