Upcoming 2018-2019 School Year: P.E. Waiver Removal
by Coraima Camacho
Physical Education waivers play a role in Northside athletics and despite not always wanting to admit it, they are an incentive for many students to join a new sport. Students jump at the opportunity to dodge congested locker rooms and rowdy P.E. classes, but most importantly, to fill vacant slots for classes they want to take. As students at Northside transition from grade to grade, they gain more freedom of class choices. However, with the recent decision to remove P.E. waivers, that could all change.
Many Northside upperclassmen who do not particularly enjoy P.E. classes and prefer to find exercise elsewhere and/or were looking forward to extra room in their schedule, will find themselves disappointed. Additionally, students who already had a waiver approved or pending will no longer have the option. With Sound Programming schedules being finalized and P.E. waivers removed, students will now be forced to reschedule their Sound Programming choices to include a P.E. course. Many students such as Asna Tauseef, Adv. 907, and Briana Gonzalez, Adv. 900, active junior varsity lacrosse members who used their P.E. waiver to take AP Environmental Science, are not happy with this decision. Gonzalez stated, “It is so unfair that faculty is judging athletes who are both committed to academics and their sports as a whole, rather than just penalizing individuals.” Tauseef added that she is disappointed not being able to use her P.E. waiver next year to make room for AP Biology in her schedule.
As a part of the Illinois School Code, students in kindergarten through grade 12 were previously required to receive daily physical education. However, as of last year, P.E. waivers allow eligible students from grades seven through 12 to be exempt from their P.E. requirement by participating in an extracurricular or interscholastic sport. Previously, students had to fill out a form stating the sport they chose to participate in and why they wanted it to be approved and then turn it in to their counselor.
The decision to include P.E. waivers arose as a strategy to reduce school district costs. In the past, both students and faculty have benefitted from the waiver, as students can benefit from schedule flexibility allowing room for rigorous classes and faculty can reduce the size of their classes, leading to a more inclusive and manageable environment.
So, after Illinois approved the waivers, why is Northside removing them? The news of the waiver removal comes after it has been noticed that often, students get an approved waiver, play the sport for a year, and then drop the sport. Similarly, some students with a waiver show a decrease in exercise altogether, as they choose not to show up to practice, play in games, or worse, quit a sport midway through the season. It is no secret that the lack of exercise can contribute to high obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases. Furthermore, it has been noted that at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day can contribute to improved motor skills, build team skills, strengthen problem solving skills, and ultimately lead to better academic performance.
With the end of P.E. waivers, Northsiders can once again say goodbye to freedom of class choice and say hello to congested locker rooms and team building activities with about 30 other students in their grade.