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Healey to debut new physical fitness curriculum

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(The Center Square) – A new comprehensive health and physical education curriculum could be headed to Massachusetts schools.

Gov. Maura Healey, along with Education Secretary Patrick Tutwiler and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley, doled out an updated draft of the curriculum’s framework to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

“As the proud daughter of a school nurse and health and sex education teacher, I believe strongly that all students deserve inclusive, medically accurate, and age-appropriate health guidelines,” Healey said in a statement. “All of our students benefit when they learn from up-to-date, evidence-based material grounded in science. These new guidelines will empower students with the skills they need to build healthy lives in school and beyond.”

According to a release, the proposed curriculum is an LGBTQ+ inclusive, medically accurate, and developmentally- and age-appropriate curriculum with a framework that outlines health and physical education for prekindergarten through 12th grade public school students in the state.

According to a release, the proposed curriculum would update the 1999 Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework.

“This is exactly the right time to move this framework forward,” Tutwiler said in a statement. “Our education system is still recovering from the lasting impacts of the pandemic, and this new framework will provide students and educators access to modern, scientifically-backed practices for achieving mental and physical health.”

According to a release, the proposed plan would include an updated understanding of health and wellness and its importance. It would also outline expectations for students’ knowledge and what they can do at each stage of their education. It would also include mental, emotional, and physical health strategies along the journey.

Riley said he was “recommending” the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education consider the proposed plan and seek public comment.

“School districts have discretion to determine how the standards will be implemented at the local level,” Riley said in a statement. “We hope the framework will be a resource of lasting value for schools and districts.”

According to a release, the plan would incorporate mental and emotional health, personal safety, physical health, and hygiene, healthy relationships, nutrition, balanced eating, physical activity and fitness, and substance use and misuse. The plan would also focus on gender, sexual orientation, health, and public, community, and environmental health.

On Tuesday, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will receive a presentation of the drafted plan.

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