Last Reviewed by State Dept of Education: 10/1/2008
Contact us with corrections or additions Pennsylvania Last Updated: 9/26/2014
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Curriculum and Instruction
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Health Education
     Last Updated: 9/13/2013

Mandate: 022 PA Code 4.21 (1999) requires planned instruction in health education aligned to the academic standards for each year in the elementary grades, although the amount of instructional time is not specified. 022 PA Code 4.22 (1999) requires health instruction in middle schools, but does not specify grade levels or amounts of time. Similarly 022 PA Code 4.23 (1999) requires health instruction in high schools, but does not specify grade levels or amounts. 022 PA Code 57.31 (1988) requires the completion of one health and physical education credit for high school students to graduate.

Curriculum Content: The Academic Standards for Health, Safety, and Physical Education (2003) describe what students should know and be able to do by the end of third, sixth, ninth, and twelfth grades. The standards are mandated and binding. Schools are not required to follow a specific curriculum but are required to use the standards as a curricular framework for the development of the local curriculum.  Local districts are required to develop performance assessments for their districts.

State Assessment RequirementNo specific policy. However, school districts, according to 022 PA Code 4.12(h)(1999), are required to assess individual student attainment of the academic standards.  School districts are required by 022 PA Code 4.52 (1999) to develop and implement a local assessment system.
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Physical Education
     Last Updated: 9/13/2013

Mandate: Students at the elementary, middle, and high school levels shall receive planned instruction in physical education aligned to the academic standards according to 022 PA Code 4.27 (1999). Further details of the requirements at the elementary level can be found in 022 PA Code 4.21 (1999), at the middle school in 022 PA Code 4.22 (1999), and at the high school level, in 022 PA Code 4.23 (1999). The physical education programs shall be adapted for those who are unable to participate and shall provide coeducational instruction with the exception of courses involving contact sports.. 022 PA Code 57.31(1988) requires the completion of one credit in health and physical education to fulfill the graduation requirement.

Exemptions: Parents/guardians may remove the child from instruction when it conflicts with religious beliefs.  A written request must be submitted to the school.

Curriculum Content: The Academic Standards for Health, Safety, and Physical Education (2003) describe what students should know and be able to do by the end of third, sixth, ninth, and twelfth grades. The standards are mandated and binding. Schools are not required to follow a specific curriculum but are required to use the standards as a framework for the development of the local curriculum.  Local districts are required to develop performance assessments for their districts.

Physical Fitness Assessment: No specific policy. However, school districts, according to 022 PA Code 4.12(h)(1999), are required to assess individual student attainment of the academic standards.  School districts are required by 022 PA Code 4.52 (1999) to develop and implement a local assessment system.

Asthma Awareness Education
     Last Updated: 9/28/2010

The Academic Standards for Health, Safety, and Physical Education (2003) include noninfectious diseases and acute and chronic illnesses under Concepts of Health for grades 3 and 12.

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Emotional, Social, and Mental Health Education
     Last Updated: 9/28/2010

Standard 10.4 of the Academic Standards for Health, Safety, and Physical Education (2003) requires that students be taught physical activity's social and psychological benefits, such as stress management, and the social factors that influence preferences concerning physical activity by grades 9 & 12. Standard 10.1 requires that students be taught the growth and developmental changes that occur between childhood and adolescence and the factors that can influence these changes by the end of grade 6. Standard 10.1 also requires that students analyze factors that impact growth and development between adolescence and adulthood by the end of grade 9 and that students evaluate factors that impact growth and development during adulthood and into late adulthood by the end of grade 12.

Character Education: Not specifically required.

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HIV, STD, and Pregnancy Prevention Education
     Last Updated: 9/28/2010

Mandate: 022 PA Code 4.29 (1999) requires instruction regarding the prevention of HIV and other life-threatening and communicable diseases in all primary, intermediate, middle school and high schools throughout the state.

Curriculum Content: 022 PA Code 4.29 specifies that HIV prevention materials and instruction are determined by the local school district. The program of instruction shall include information about the nature of the diseases, treatments and cures, methods of transmission, and how infection can be prevented. The local school district may omit instruction in the elementary grades on transmission of disease through sexual activity." Further, programs discussing transmission through sexual activity shall stress that abstinence from sexual activity is the only completely reliable means of preventing sexual transmission" and programs shall stress that avoidance of illegal drug use is the only completely reliable means of preventing transmission of disease through shared drug paraphernalia."

The nonbinding Academic Standards for Health, Safety, and Physical Education (2003) include the topics of abstinence, STD, and HIV prevention. The state does not require schools to follow a specific curriculum for such instruction but does require them to use the standards as a curricular framework for the development of the local curriculum.  Local districts are required to develop performance assessments for their districts.

Parental Approval: 022 PA Code 4.29 allows a school district to excuse a pupil from HIV/AIDS instruction when the instruction conflicts with the religious beliefs or principles of the pupil or parent or guardian of the pupil and when excusal is requested in writing" (an opt-out" policy). Curricular materials, if practical, shall be made available by the school district for home instruction use by a parent or guardian of a student excused from the district's HIV/AIDS instruction. Prior to the commencement of instruction, school districts must publicize that parents may review curriculum outlines and curricular materials.

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Nutrition Education
     Last Updated: 9/28/2010

Students in grades K-12 are required to receive instruction in health, safety and physical education, which includes teaching concepts and skills in nutrition. Details of the requirement at the elementary level can be found in 022 PA Code 4.21 (1999), at the middle level in 022 PA Code 4.22 (1999), and at the high school level in 022 PA Code 4.23 (1999).

Standard 10.1 of the binding Academic Standards for Health, Safety, and Physical Education (2003) includes nutrition education topics and describes what students should know by the end of grades 3, 6, 9 and 12. The state does not require schools to follow a specific curriculum for such instruction but it does require that the standards be used as a curricular framework for the development of the local curriculum.

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Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Use Education
     Last Updated: 9/28/2010

Alcohol: 24 P.S. 15-1547 (2002) requires each public school student to receive instruction in alcohol use every year in every grade from K-12. Instruction must be age appropriate, sequential, discourage use of tobacco, and should be integrated into health or other appropriate courses and not an independent course of study. 022 PA Code 4.21, 022 PA Code 4.22, and 022 PA Code 4.23 (1999) require students to receive instruction on alcohol abuse prevention in the elementary, middle, and high school grades.

Tobacco: 24 P.S. 15-1547 requires each public school student to receive instruction in tobacco use every year in every grade from K-12. Instruction must be age appropriate, sequential, discourage use of tobacco, and should be integrated into health or other appropriate courses and not an independent course of study. 022 PA Code 4.21, 022 PA Code 4.22, and 022 PA Code 4.23 require students to receive instruction on tobacco abuse prevention in the elementary, middle, and high school grades.

Drugs: 24 P.S. 15-1547 requires each public school student to receive instruction in drug use every year in every grade from K-12. Instruction must be age appropriate, sequential, discourage use of tobacco, and should be integrated into health or other appropriate courses and not an independent course of study. 022 PA Code 4.21, 022 PA Code 4.22, and 022 PA Code 4.23 require students to receive instruction on chemical abuse prevention in the elementary, middle, and high school grades.

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Injury and Violence Prevention Education
     Last Updated: 9/28/2010

Bullying/Harassment: Standard 10.3 of the Academic Standards for Health, Safety, and Physical Education (2003) requires that students be taught how to recognize unsafe practices, such as bullying, by the end of grade 3 and requires students be taught personal safety practices, such as how to handle and avoid harassment, by the end of grade 6.

Fighting/Gangs: Standard 10.3 of the Academic Standards for Health, Safety, and Physical Education requires students be taught how to recognize, analyze, avoid, and resolve conflicts and violence by the end of grades 3, 6, 9, and 12. Such strategies include anger management, peer mediation, reflective listening, negotiation, refusal skills, adult intervention, walking away, and assertive behavior. The standard also requires students be taught violence prevention practices, such as avoiding gangs, by the end of grade 6.

Suicide and Other Self-Abuse Prevention: No state policy.

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Staff
Requirements for All Educators Regarding Health Education
     Last Updated: 12/28/2011

Professional Development: There are no requirements that all educators must meet regarding health topics. The  Pennsylvania Youth Suicide Prevention Plan (2007-12) plans to implement and recommends suicide prevention training programs in schools for staff and teachers.

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Requirements for Health Educators
     Last Updated: 9/13/2013

Pre-service Requirement: 24 P.S. 12-1202(no date available) requires that teachers be certified in the field in which they teach.  The Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Elementary EducationCertification and Staffing Policy Guideline (CSPG) 41 (2012) allows elementary educators to teach health (including AIDS and other health education) within a grade-by-grade (K-6) self-contained classroom. When elementary students are grouped separately or scheduled for this instruction, a person holding a health education or health and physical education certificate must be assigned.  The Department of Education’s Health and Physical Education Certification and Staffing Policy Guidelines 47 (2005) allows educators with a PA certificate in health education or health & physical education to teach related courses in grades K-12. These guidelines describe in detail the specific topics each certificate is qualified to teach. General requirements for teaching certifications are described in PA 22 Chapter 354

022 PA Code 51.34 (1968) requires teachers at licensed private schools to hold either a valid Pennsylvania professional certificate, a private academic teaching certificate, or a private academic temporary approval certificate.
 
Professional Development: Code 22 Chapter 49.11  (2006) requires professional educators to complete 6 credits of collegiate study, 6 credits of continuing education courses, and 180 hours of continuing professional education programs, activities, or learning experiences every 5 years for maintenance of licensure. 24 P.S. 15-1547 (2002) states that local schools are required to provide programs for all instructors responsible for teaching the course of study on tobacco, alcohol, and drug prevention.
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Requirements for Physical Educators
     Last Updated: 9/16/2013

Pre-service Requirement: 24 P.S. 12-1202 (no date available) requires that teachers be certified in the field in which they teach.  The Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Elementary Education Certification and Staffing Policy Guideline (CSPG) 41 (2012) allows elementary educators to teach physical education within a grade-by-grade (K-6) self-contained classroom. When elementary students are grouped separately or scheduled for this instruction, a person holding a health and physical education certificate must be assigned. Physical education at the middle and high school level must be taught by a certified health and physical education teacher. The Department of Education’s Health and Physical Education Certification and Staffing Policy Guidelines 47 (2005) allows educators with a PA certificate in health & physical education to teach related courses in grades K-12. These guidelines describe in detail the specific topics this certificate is qualified to teach. General requirements for teaching certifications are described in PA 22 Chapter 354

022 PA Code 51.34 (1968) requires teachers at licensed private schools to hold either a valid Pennsylvania professional certificate, a private academic teaching certificate, or a private academic temporary approval certificate.

Professional Development: Code 22 Chapter 49.11 (2006) requires professional educators and educational specialists and administrators to complete 6 credits of collegiate study, 6 credits of continuing education courses, and 180 hours of continuing professional education programs, activities, or learning experiences every 5 years for maintenance of licensure.

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Requirements for School Nurses
     Last Updated: 1/2/2012

Pre-service Requirement:  A school nurse requires an Educational Specialist's Certificate. 022 PA Code 49.102 (1999) states that an Educational Specialist I Certificate will be issued to those applicants who have successfully completed a Department of Education approved educational specialist preparation program, have satisfactorily achieved in the prescribed assessments and has the college or university preparing program's recommendation 

To be considered for the educational specialist certificate program for school nursing, the individual must be licensed as professional nurses (RNs) and possess a bachelor's degree in nursing. For licensure as a registered nurse the Professional Nursing Law, Section 5 (2003) requires the completion of a state-approved associates degree, diploma or baccalaureate degree nursing program and the passing of a board-approved examination.

Professional Development: Act 48 (1999) requires professional educators and educational specialists and administrators to complete 6 credits of collegiate study, 6 credits of continuing education courses, and 180 hours of continuing professional education programs, activities, or learning experiences every 5 years for maintenance of licensure.

Student-to-Nurse Ratio: 24 P.S. 14-1402 (1966) and 14-1410 (1957) requires schools to provide one certified school nurse per 1500 students. 028 PA Code 23.51-.53B (1962) requires private, parochial, and public school children to receive nursing services through the public school system. The number of students to be served by a school nurse shall be determined by the school administrator by the number of school, the distance and travel time between schools, and special health needs of the areas.

Requirements for Non-Certified Personnel to Administer Medication
     Last Updated: 9/16/2013

Pre-service Requirement:  The Department of Education requires schools to develop their own policies and procedures for the administration of medication and for emergency care per 022 PA Code 12.4. The state notes, however, that it is the opinion of the Department of Health that, since there is no delegatory language in the Nurse Practice Act, school nurses may not delegate medication administration to non-licensed personnel.

24 P.S. 14-1414.1 (subsection f, (2010) directs the Departments of Health and Education to provide technical assistance and resources on the administration of allergy medication by school staff, including proper use of epinephrine devices, recognizing symptoms of severe allergic reaction, requirements for proper access, storage, and security; notification of appropriate persons after medication is administered, and recordkeeping.

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Requirements for School Counselors
     Last Updated: 9/28/2010

Pre-service Requirement: Counselor's require an Educational Specialist's Certificate. 022 PA Code 49.102 (1999) states that an Educational Specialist I Certificate will be issued to those applicants who have successfully completed a Department of Education approved educational specialist preparation program, have satisfactorily achieved in the prescribed assessments [see 022 PA Code 354.33 (2000) for specifics], and has the college or university preparing program's recommendation.

Elementary School Counselor (2010) certification requires the completion of an elementary school counselor preparation program that educates the applicant in 11 specific academic foundation areas. The applicant must also have observatory and participatory lab experience, at least 60 hours of supervised counseling practicum experience, and 300 clock hours of internship experience of which 70 hours involved providing direct service. Finally, the candidate must also exhibit knowledge and competency that fosters professionalism in four specific areas.

Secondary School Counselor certification requires the completion of a secondary school counselor preparation program that educates the applicant in 11 specific academic foundation areas. The applicant must also have observatory and participatory lab experience, at least 60 hours of supervised counseling practicum experience, and 300 clock hours of internship experience of which 75 hours involved providing direct service. Finally, the candidate must also exhibit knowledge and competency that fosters professionalism in four specific areas.

Professional Development: Act 48 (1999) requires professional educators to complete 6 credits of collegiate study, 6 credits of continuing education courses, and 180 hours of continuing professional education programs, activities, or learning experiences every 5 years for maintenance of licensure.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: None specified.

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Requirements for School Psychologists
     Last Updated: 1/2/2012

Pre-service Requirement: Psychologists' require an Educational Specialist's Certificate. 022 PA Code 49.102 (1999) states that an Educational Specialist I Certificate will be issued to those applicants who have successfully completed a Department of Education approved educational specialist preparation program, have satisfactorily achieved in the prescribed assessments (see 022 PA Code 354.33 (2000) for specifics), and has the college or university preparing program's recommendation.

School Psychology certification requires the completion of a preparation program that educates the applicant in five specific academic foundation areas for providing school psychological services for grades K-12. Candidates are also required to complete a 1000-hour internship, one half of which must be in a supervised public school setting. Finally, the candidate must also exhibit knowledge and competency that fosters professionalism in four specific areas.

Professional Development: Act 48 (1999) requires professional educators to complete 6 credits of collegiate study, 6 credits of continuing education courses, and 180 hours of continuing professional education programs, activities, or learning experiences every 5 years for maintenance of licensure.

Student-to-Psychologist Ratio: 022 PA Code 7.12 (1987) and 022 PA Code 7.2 (1987) require school psychological programs to employ certified school psychologists.

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Requirements for School Social Workers
     Last Updated: 9/28/2010

Pre-service Requirement: Home & school visitors (school social workers) require an Educational Specialist's Certificate. 022 PA Code 49.102 (1999) states that an Educational Specialist I Certificate will be issued to those applicants who have successfully completed a Department of Education approved educational specialist preparation program, have satisfactorily achieved in the prescribed assessments (see 022 PA Code 354.33 (2000) for specifics), and has the college or university preparing program's recommendation.

Home & School Visitor certification requires at least a bachelor's degree in a clearly articulated program that requires demonstration of knowledge in five areas for coordinating and implementing social services for grades K-12. Candidates are also required to have a minimum of 360 hours of field experiences and a practicum. Finally, the candidate must also exhibit knowledge and competency that fosters professionalism in four specific areas.

Professional Development: Act 48 (1999) requires professional educators to complete 6 credits of collegiate study, 6 credits of continuing education courses, and 180 hours of continuing professional education programs, activities, or learning experiences every 5 years for maintenance of licensure.

Student-to-Social Worker Ratio: 022 PA Code 7.14 (1987) and 022 PA Code 7.2 (1987) require home and school visitors services (school social work services).

Requirements for Food Service Personnel
     Last Updated: 5/21/2008

Pre-service Requirement: None specified.

Professional Development: None specified.

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Requirements for Athletic Coaches
     Last Updated: 5/21/2008

Pre-service Requirement: None specified.

Professional Development:
None specified.

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Health Promoting Environment
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Wellness Policies
     Last Updated: 1/2/2012

Additional Accountability Requirements: Local Education Agencies (LEAs) are required to complete a. "Local Wellness Policy Checklist" and submit it to the state Department of Education with their Wellness Policy.  This checklist covers a broad range of topics including school environment assessment, personnel involved in ensuring implementation of hte wellness policy, and compliance with state Nutrition Guidelines for Competitive Foods. the State Department of Education reviews each LEA's wellness policy and checklist for completeness and accountability. 

As part of a project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and through partnership with Penn State University, the Department of Education is requesting that LEAs complete a Local Wellness Policy Implementation Checklist to help schools measure and document the implementation of their Wellness Policy. Once the LEA completes this self assessment, they receive feedback about their wellness policy implementation.

Additional Content Requirements: None

Guidance Materials: The state Department of Education's sample policy language, “Examples of Policy Language for Local Wellness Policies” provides guidance to policymakers in selecting policy goals that suit their needs and assists them in meeting the federal requirements.,

The Pennsylvania School Boards Association developed a Local Wellness Policy template to assist policymakers in developing a policy that fullfills the federal requirements.
 
The Department also provides a “Frequently Asked Questions” document on wellness policies, and voluntary  “Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods in Pennsylvania Schools (Revised July 2008).

Other: None

 

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School Meals Program
     Last Updated: 9/16/2013

Adequate Time to Eat: No state policy.

School Breakfast
: No state policy recommending or requiring school breakfast. However, schools that participate in the School Breakfast Program receive state reimbursement for each breakfast served, plus additional state reimbursement for each lunch served. The lunch reimbursement is higher for schools that serve breakfast to >20% of their enrollment.

Food Allergies: P.L. 996, No. 104 (2010) requires the Department of Education to collaborate with advisory health councils to develop guidelines for managing life-threatening food allergies in schools and publish the guidelines on the department's website. The guidelines shall address: the scope of the problem of childhood allergies and its impact on school student health; detailed policies and protocols; the systematic planning and multidisciplinary team approach needed prior to school entry by the student; school district staff's role and necessary training; responsibilities of the parent or guardian, school staff and the student's primary care provider; emergency response protocols; and the roles of specific staff members in the care of the student with a life-threatening allergic condition. The Pennsylvania Guidelines for Management of Food Allergies in Schools (2011) was developed to implement the law.

Farm-to-SchoolTitle 3 P.S. Chapter 31 (the “Healthy Farms and Healthy Schools Act”) (2006) establishes the Healthy Farms and Healthy Schools Program to be administered by the Departments of Education and Health. The purposes of the program are to educate kindergarteners and their families about the importance of choosing healthy, locally produced foods and increase awareness and availability of local agriculture. Grants are available to school districts and private schools to train teachers and other educational staff to provide nutrition and agriculture education, to increase parental and community involvement in education activities, to provide for field trips to nearby farms and to increase the ability of schools to procure locally grown foods for their program.

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Competitive Foods in School
     Last Updated: 9/26/2014

P.L. 30, No. 40 (HB 185) (2005) states that a governing board of a school district cannot enter into or renew an exclusive advertising or vending contract for carbonated beverages, or non-nutritious beverages and foods (defined below) UNLESS the governing board holds a public hearing to ensure public funds are secure and to allow public comment. “Non-nutritious beverages and foods” are defined as:

Non-nutritious foods:

Foods that are not sold as part of the school breakfast or lunch program as a full meal and meet any of the following standards:

* More than 35% total calories from fat

* More than 10% total calories from saturated fat

* More than 35% total weight from sugar

* Non-nutritious beverages:

Any beverage that is NOT one of the following:

* Drinking water

* Milk (includes flavored and nutritionally equivalent non-dairy alternatives)

* 100% fruit juice with no added sweeteners

*  Fruit-based drinks that are composed of at least 50% fruit juice with no added sweeteners

*  An electrolyte replacement beverage that contains 42g or less of added sweetener per 20 oz

“Added sweetener” includes any additive that enhances the sweetness of a beverage, including but not limited to, added sugar, but not including the natural sugar or sugars that are contained within any fruit juice that is a component of the beverage 

The Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods in Pennsylvania Schools provide voluntary guidelines for schools.  These previously were associated with an incentive program for additional reimbursement, which is no longer active. The standards address foods and beverages available a la carte, in school stores, in vending machines, through fundraisers, during classroom parties/celebrations, and also address topics including use of foods as rewards, foods from home, food in faculty lounges, and vegetarian options for students

Nutrition standards for meals and a la carte foods/snacks served along with reimbursable meals:

Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value may not be available anytime during the school day. No on-site deep fat fried foods will be sold a la carte, even if they are reimbursable meal components. This does not include stir-fried or sauteed foods. Pre-fried and flash-fried foods may not be offered a la carte more than three times per week.

Standards for la carte foods:

  • A minimum of 3 fruits and 3 vegetables will be offered daily (at least 1 of each being fresh/raw). A variety of fruits and vegetables will be offered from day to day.
  • At least 50% of grains offered will be whole grains.
Additional standards for foods offered a la carte that are not reimbursable meal components:
  • Must be packaged in single serving sizes
  • Less than 250 calories per serving
  • A minimum of 75% of the items must contain <35% or less of calories from total fat (excluding nuts, seeds, nut butters, and reduced fat cheeses), <10% of calories from saturated fat (excluding reduced fat cheeses), <35% sugar by weight (excluding naturally occurring sugars and low fat yogurts), not contain sugar as the first ingredient and provide minimal to no trans fatty acids.
At least 75% of beverages must be:
  • Plain water
  • Flavored water with no sugars or artificial sweeteners (any size)
  • Flavored water with artificial sweeteners (17 oz or less in middle or high school only). Artificially sweetened water may not make up more than 25% of water and juice selections
  • 100% fruit and/or vegetable juice (8 oz or less for elementary, 12 oz or less for middle/high school)
  • Carbonated beverages with 70-100% pure juice with no added ingredients except water.
  • Milk (flavored or unflavored). At least 75% of milk offered must be 2% fat or less, 8 oz or less in elementary, 12 oz or less in middle/high school, no more than 30 grams sugar per 8 oz), with no artificial sweeteners.
  • The other 25% or less beverages cannot exceed 150 calories or 35 grams sugar per package.

 

Fundraising Exemptions:

A June 30, 2014 memo (link not available) from Carolyn C. Dumaresq, Ed.D., Acting Secretary of Education to Superintendents, Chief Administrators, Business Managers, School Nutrition Program Directors of Schools Participating in the School Nutrition Programs creates a policy, effective July 1, 2014, that will allow up to five exempted fundraisers in elementary and middle schools per year, and up to ten in high schools.  Each fundraiser may not exceed one school week.  Each Local Education Agency will need to establish a process for ensuring the number of exempt fundraisers does not exceed the maximum of five in each elementary and middle school building, and ten in each high school building.

LEAs may also use their Local Wellness Policies to create a smaller number of exemptions.  The state agency will not approve these policies, but will check for compliance with the state fundraising exemption policy during the administrative review process.

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Physical Activity Other Than Physical Education
     Last Updated: 12/22/2010

General Physical Activity Requirement: No state policy.

Recess or Physical Activity Breaks: No state policy requiring or recommending recess.

Recess Before Lunch: No state policy.

Walking/Biking to School: No state policy.

Organized Sports
     Last Updated: 12/31/2013

The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act (2012) requires the Department of Education to develop and post on their websites guidelines and other relevant materials to inform and educate students participating in or desiring to participate in an athletic activity, their parents and their coaches about the nature and warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest, including the risks associated with continuing to play or practice after experiencing one or more symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest, including fainting, difficulty breathing, chest pains, dizziness and abnormal racing heart rate. In addition, a student participating in or desiring to participate in an athletic activity and the student's parent or guardian shall, each school year and prior to participation by the student in an athletic activity, sign an an acknowledgment of receipt and review of a sudden cardiac arrest symptoms and warning signs information sheet. It also requires a student to be removed from participation by the coach if they exhibit signs or symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest while participating in an athletic activity. The student may not return to participation until they rae evaluated for return to particiapation in writing by a physician or other certified practitioner.

Interscholastic Athletics: 022 PA Code 4.27 (1999) requires students of both sexes to have equal access in interscholastic and intramural programs.

Concussion and Sports-Related Head InjurySB 200 (2011) requires the Department of Health and the Department of Education to develop and post on their website guidelines and other relevant materials to inform and educate students participating in or desiring to participate in an athletic activity, their parents and coaches, about the nature and risk of concussion and traumatic brain injury. Students participating or desiring to participate in an athletic activity and their parent or guardian must sign and return an acknowledgement of and receipt and review of a concussion and traumatic brain injury information sheet on an annual basis. The policy requires removal from play for any student, as determined by a game official, coach from the student’s team, certified athletic trainer, licensed physician, licensed physical therapist or other official designated by the student’s school entity, exhibits signs or symptoms of a concussion or traumatic brain injury while participating in an athletic activity. The student may not return to participation until they are evaluated and cleared in writing by a medical professional, as defined in the policy. Coaches must annually complete the concussion management certification training course offered by the CDC, National Federation of State High school Associations or another provider approved by the Department of Health. Coaches may not coach an athletic activity until completing the course. The policy establishes penalties for coaches found in violation of the requirements.

Safe and Drug-Free Schools
     Last Updated: 1/2/2012

No specific state policy requires a safe and secure learning environment. However, 24 P.S. 13-1302-A (1999) does create the Office for Safe Schools within the Department of Education, whose concern is promoting safe school environments.

Fighting/Gangs: No state policy.

Weapons: 24 P.S. 13-1317.2 (1997) requires school districts and area voc-tech schools to expel students for at least one year who have been found to have brought or possessed a weapon on any school property, school-sponsored activity, or any public conveyance providing transportation to a school or school-sponsored activity.

Allowable exceptions are weapons needed for school approved programs and unloaded weapons possessed while traversing school property for the purpose of obtaining access to public or private lands used for lawful hunting, if entry is authorized by school authorities.

Drugs and Alcohol: No state policy.

Collaboration with Law Enforcement: 24 P.S. 13-1303-A requires all school entities to develop a memorandum of understanding with local law enforcement, setting forth procedures to be followed when an incident involving an act of violence or possession of a weapon occurs on school property.

Bullying, Harassment and Hazing
     Last Updated: 12/28/2011

Bullying/Harassment: H1067 (2008) requires each school to adopt or amend an existing policy on bullying and incorporate it into the school code of conduct. Bullying is defined as an intentional electronic, written, verbal or physical act or series of acts directed at another student or students which occurs in a school setting. The act is severe, persistent or pervasive and has the effect of substantially interfering with a students education, creating a threatening environment, or substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school. "School setting" is defined as the school, school grounds, in school vehicles, at a school bus stop, or any activity sponsored, supervised or sanctioned by the school.

The policy must delineate disciplinary consequences for bullying and may provide prevention, intervention and education programs. A school may define bullying in such a way as to encompass acts that occur outside of a school setting if they meet the definitions of bullying outlined in the statute. The policy must identify the appropriate school staff person to receive reports of incidents of alleged bullying  and must be posted on the school's website and in every classroom, if possible.

CyberbullyingH1067 (2008) includes an "intentional electronic act" in its definition of bullying in the school setting and requires each school to adopt or amend an existing policy on bullying and incorporate it into the school code of conduct.

Hazing: No state policy addressing elementary or secondary schools.

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Crisis Management/Emergency Response
     Last Updated: 8/4/2008

Response & Management Plans: Pennsylvania has no specific state policy requiring crisis or emergency response plans, but the NCLB Act requires such plans for federal funding.
 

Reporting Incidents of Violence: 24 P.S. 13-1303-A (1997) require all school entities to make at least one report per year of all new incidents involving acts of violence, weapon's possession, or possession, use, or sale of controlled substances by any person on school property to the Office for Safe Schools. 24 P.S. 13-1317.2 (1997) requires all district superintendents to report incidents involving the possession of a weapon to law enforcement officials and the department of education.

Tobacco Use
     Last Updated: 9/28/2010

Act 27 (2008) Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits an individual from engaging in smoking in a public place. Schools are included in this policy.

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Air Quality
     Last Updated: 3/18/2009

No state policy. However, the Department of Health does provide a manual "Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality in Pennsylvania Schools."

Pesticide Use
     Last Updated: 12/20/2006

24 P.S. §7-772.1 (2002) requires all PA schools to adopt Integrated Pest Management programs. Further, 24 P.S. §7-772.2 (2002) requires the notification of pesticide treatments in schools through the posting of signs and the provision of notices sent to every parent/guardian for students enrolled in the school.

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Playground/Facility Safety
     Last Updated: 2/18/2006

No state policy.

Shared Use Agreements
     Last Updated: 4/14/2013

Statute 7-775 (1955) authorizes local boards of education to permit use of school grounds and buildings for social, recreation, and other purposes. Local boards of education can make arrangements with any city, borough, or township authorities for the improvement, care, protection, and maintenance of school buildings and grounds for school, park, play, or other recreation purposes. School buildings or athletic fields can be leased to reputable organizations or groups of persons for charitable purposes, and local boards of education may require charges to reimburse school districts for costs of use, a bond, and a statement of charitable purposes for which the lease is requested.

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Student Services
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Screening for Health Conditions
     Last Updated: 7/1/2010

The School Health Program Manual (2009) outlines the requirements for the categories below.

Vision and Hearing: 028 PA Code 23.1 (1959), per 24 P.S. 14-1402 (1966), states that each child shall be given a vision test and hearing test as outlined in 028 PA Code 23.4 & 23.5 (1959).

Chronic Health Conditions: 24 P.S. 14-1408 (1957) states that schools shall file with the Department of Health such reports as required by the regulations of the Department. 028 PA Code 23.28 and 23.61 (1982) specify that applications for reimbursement shall be made to the Department of Health. This application/report includes listing the number of children with a medical diagnosis of asthma.

Body Mass Index (BMI) Screening: 028 PA Code 23.7 (1959), per  24 P.S. 14-1402, requires "a measurement of height and weight by a school nurse or teacher, who shall use the measurements to compute a child's weight-for-height ratio." BMI screening is required as a part of the growth screening program.

Dental: 24P.S. 14-1403(a) requires a dental examination by a school dentist (or family dentist) upon original entry into school, third grade and seventh grade.

Other: 028 PA Code 23.10 (1982) states that scoliosis screenings shall be included in school health programs.

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Administration of Medications
     Last Updated: 12/30/2013

Staff Administration: The Department of Education requires schools to develop policies and procedures for the administration of medication per 022 PA Code 12.41 (2005). The Department of Health provides guidance for schools on the development of this policy in the Guidelines for Pennsylvania Schools for the Administration of Medications and Emergency Care (2010). The Professional Nursing Law and the Practical Nursing Law do not allow nursing functions, including the administration of medication, to be delegated to non-licensed personnel. Consequently, a certified school nurse or other licensed personnel (RN, LPN) cannot lawfully delegate the nursing function of medication administration to the principal, teacher or administrative personnel.  

24 P.S. 14-1414.1 (subsection f, 2010) directs the Departments of Health and Education to provide technical assistance and resources on the administration of allergy medication by school staff, including proper use of epinephrine devices, recognizing symptoms of severe allergic reaction, requirements for proper access, storage, and security; notification of appropriate persons after medication is administered, and recordkeeping.

Guidance on the administration of medication is also included in the School Health Program Manual (2009).

Self-Administration of Asthma Medication
:  24 P.S. 14-1414.1  (2011) requires each school entity to develop a written policy to allow students to possess and self-administer an asthma inhaler in a school setting. The policy shall include a requirement that students must demonstrate competency in the self-administration of medication and responsible use of the medication, as well as specify limitations and conditions under which the student may lose privileges to self-carry and identify a suitable storage location if the student is not allowed to self-carry.  The policy may also include a requirement of a written statement from a healthcare professional that includes essential medication information and a statement whether the student is able to self-administer, as well as a written request from the parent or guardian.

The Guidelines for Pennsylvania Schools for the Administration of Medications and Emergency Care (2010) provide additional guidance to schools for developing policies around self-administration.


Self-Administration of Anaphylaxis Medication:  24 P.S. 14-1414.1 (2011) requires each school entity to develop a written policy to allow students to possess and self-administer an epinephrine auto-injector in a school setting. The policy shall include a requirement that students must demonstrate competency in the self-administration and responsible use of the medication, specify limitations and conditions under which the student may lose privileges to self-carry, and identify a suitable storage location if the student is not allowed to self-carry.  The policy may also include a requirement of a written statement from a healthcare professional that includes essential medication information and a statement whether the student is able to self-administer, as well as a written request from the parent or guardian.

The Guidelines for Pennsylvania Schools for the Administration of Medications and Emergency Care (2010) provide additional guidance to schools for developing policies around self-administration.

Psychotropic Medications: Pennsylvania has no specific state policy concerning psychotropic medications. The Department of Education requires schools to develop their own policies and procedures for the administration of medication per 022 PA Code 12.41 (2005).

Storage and Record-keeping: Pennsylvania has no specific policy on the storage and record keeping of medication. The Department of Education requires schools to develop their own policies and procedures for the administration of medication per 022 PA Code 12.41 (2005). 24 P.S. 14-1414.1 (subsection f, 2010) directs the Departments of Health and Education to provide technical assistance and resources on the administration of allergy medication by school staff, including proper use of epinephrine devices, recognizing symptoms of severe allergic reaction, requirements for proper access, storage, and security; notification of appropriate persons after medication is administered, and recordkeeping.

Medical Emergencies: Pennsylvania has no specific policy on medical emergency plans. However, the Department of Education does require schools to develop their own policies and procedures for emergency care per 022 PA Code 12.41028 PA Code 23.79 (1959) also requires school nurses to develop plans for first aid services.

 

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Counseling and Mental Health Services
     Last Updated: 9/28/2010

Requirement to Provide Services: 022 PA Code 12.41 (2005) requires school districts to promote a comprehensive and integrated services program based on the needs of its students, as evidenced by the submission of a PreK-12 Student Services Plan.(2005, 2006).

Identification of Students with Mental or Emotional Disorders: 24 P.S. 15-1547 (2002) and the SAP mandate state that the SAP team's primary designation is to identify and assist other school personnel in identifying student problems and issues, including alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, and mental health issues which pose a barrier to a student's success. 022 PA Code 7.12 also requires psychological program services to provide timely identification of students experiencing significant educational adjustment difficulties".

Substance Abuse: 24 P.S. 15-1547 designates the Student Assistance Program (SAP) as the vehicle to require and assist each school district to establish and maintain a program to provide appropriate counseling and support services for students who experience problems related to the use of drugs, alcohol and dangerous controlled substances". This statute also requires student counseling and support services be provided for drug, alcohol, and dangerous substance abuse.

Suicide Prevention: No state policy.

HIV, STD, and Pregnancy Testing and Counseling: No state policy.

Immunity of Liability: 42 P.S. 83C-8337 (1972) makes any officer or employee of a school who, in the scope of their duties, reports student drug or alcohol abuse to another officer or employee of the school, to the student's parent or guardian or spouse, or refers said student for treatment or counseling or disciplinary action by school authorities relating to drug or alcohol abuse immune from civil liability.

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Immunization
     Last Updated: 5/18/2011

Detailed, current information about immunization requirements by state is maintained by the National Network for Immunization Information.  Select your state from the drop down box under Search for State Vaccine Requirements for School Entry."

Exemptions: 028 PA Code 23.84 (1997) allows for exemption from immunization requirements under the following circumstances: (1) Submission of a written statement from a physician or physician's designee indicating that immunization may be detrimental to the health of the child, or (2) Submission of a written statement from an emancipated child or a child's parent or guardian indicating objection to immunization on religious grounds or on the basis of a strong moral or ethical conviction similar to a religious belief.

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Accommodation
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Staff with HIV
     Last Updated: 2/18/2006

Office of the Governor Executive Order 4 PA Code §2003-4 (2003) Workplace Policy for HIV/AIDS states that employees of the state must be prepared to work effectively with individuals diagnosed or potentially infected with HIV or AIDS.

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Students with HIV
     Last Updated: 12/28/2011

Consistent with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (43 P. S. §§ 951—963), a student may not be denied access to a free and full public education, nor may a student be subject to disciplinary action on account of race, sex, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin or disability.

Pregnant or Parenting Students
     Last Updated: 2/18/2006
24 P.S. §13-1327 (2003) allows a local board of education to excuse attendance if it is harmful to the physical or mental health of the pregnant or parenting student.
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Individual Health Plan for Students
     Last Updated: 2/18/2006
Pennsylvania does not have a policy specifically requiring schools to devise an individual health plan according to a student's health service needs.
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Coordination/ Implementation
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Coordinating or Advisory Councils
     Last Updated: 8/18/2008

State Level:  24 P.S. 14-1422 (2006) requires the Secretaries of Education, Health and Agriculture to establish an interagency coordinating council along with an advisory council to annually review, revise and publish and Pennsylvania Child Wellness Plan to promote child health, nutrition and physical education.

Local Level: The state does not mandate the formation of a school health coordinating or advisory council, nor does it require schools or districts to do so. However, 24 P.S. 14-1422 (2006) allows schools to set up advisory health councils comprised of representatives from the medical and dental associations, social organization, veterans' organizations, parent-teacher organizations, service clubs and other area organizations.

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School Health Program Coordinators
     Last Updated: 8/18/2008

State Level: No state policy.

Local Level: 028 PA Code 23.31 (1959) authorizes the administrative officer (the local district superintendent, supervising principal, or district superintendent) to arrange for the appointment of all school health personnel, plan the health program, integrate the educational phases of the school health program with the school curriculum, promote the formation of advisory school health councils, and attempt to integrate the school health program with community health programs.

Confidentiality
     Last Updated: 8/21/2008

Student Health-Related Records: 24 P.S. 14-1409 (1957) makes all school health records confidential, and their contents available only to licensed physicians when necessary for the student's health or upon consent of the parent or guardian. 022 PA Code 12.33 Exhibits A 2 and  4 (1999) state that class C" information should never be disseminated, which includes personality tests, unevaluated counseling reports, and counseling actions. Further, the personal and professional records of school psychologists, social workers, and counselors should be guarded and remain confidential, subject to the terms of the professional's employment contract.

Student Health-Related Services: No state policy.

Limitations on Student Surveys
     Last Updated: 2/18/2006
022 PA Code §4.4 (1999) requires that school districts and intermediate units adopt policies to assure parents or guardians the right to have their children excluded from research studies or surveys conducted by entities other than the school district or intermediate unit unless prior written consent has been obtained.
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