Senate committee backs Return to Learn, physical activity requirements

educationThursday morning, two House-backed measures geared towards supporting students who have suffered health setbacks and another proposal to increase physical activity in schools reported from committee and now make their way to the floor of the Senate.

Delegate Mark Keam’s (D-Vienna) HB954 and Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn’s (D-Fairfax Station) HB475 provide for new or improved Return to Learn protocols for students overcoming concussions and cancer, respectively. Both reported unanimously. Delegate Manoli Loupassi’s (R-Richmond) HB357 — similar to Senator John Miller’s (D-Newport News) SB211 — would ensure that students at public elementary schools have dedicated time for physical activity; that bill reported on a near-party line vote, with two Republicans crossing over to vote in favor.

Said Senator Miller, “This is the first generation of children who are not expected to outlive their parents. Requiring twenty minutes of physical activity per day is a first step in ensuring our children are healthy and physically active.”

Said Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton), “We need to put the education of our most vulnerable children front and center. Overcoming a severe health crisis takes an especially large toll on children, and we need to make sure that our schools are equipped with all the right tools to support their learning.”

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