ESC-20 Conference Building
Programs and Services » School Health and Nursing » Physical Education

Physical Education

Physical Activity Requirements for Texas Public School Students

SB 530

Students below sixth grade are required to participate in moderate or vigorous daily physical activity for at least 30 minutes throughout the school year as part of the district’s physical education curriculum or through structured activity during recess. Beginning with the 2008-09 school year, students in grades six through eight will be required to participate in daily physical activity for at least 30 minutes for at least four semesters during those grade levels.

If a school district determines, for any particular grade level below sixth grade, that this requirement is impractical due to scheduling concerns or other factors, students in that grade level may participate in moderate or vigorous physical activity for at least 135 minutes during each school week. Districts that use block scheduling, may as an alternative require students to participate in moderate or vigorous physical activity for at least 225 minutes during each two-week school period.
The local school health advisory committee must consider and make policy recommendations concerning the importance of daily recess for elementary school students, taking into account research on unstructured and undirected play, academic and social development, and the health benefits of daily recess. Any policy recommendation by the council to the district must reflect local community values.

 

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)

 

Resources

 

Physical Education FAQ

Concussions

The Texas Education Code §38.143 and §38.154 require each school district and open-enrollment charter school with students who participate in interscholastic athletics to create a COT. The COT is required to establish a return-to-play protocol for a student’s return to practice or competition following sustaining an impact believed to have caused a concussion.
The Texas Education Code §38.154 states that each COT must include at least one physician and to the extent practicable one or more of the following: athletic trainer, advanced practice nurse, neuropsychologist, or physician assistant. If the LEA employs an athletic trainer, the athletic trainer must be on the COT; if the LEA employs a school nurse, the school nurse may be on the COT if requested by the school nurse.  All members of the COT must have received training in the evaluation, treatment, and oversight of concussions at the time of appointment/approval as a member of the COT.
The COT is responsible for the development of a return-to-play protocol for the LEA, based on peer-reviewed scientific evidence, for a student's return to interscholastic athletics practice or competition following the force or impact believed to have caused a concussion. Requirements for return-to-play are further outlined in the Texas Education Code §38.157.  EDUCATION CODE CHAPTER 38. HEALTH AND SAFETY (texas.gov)
The Texas Education Code §38.158 specifies that the following individuals, who serve as members of the Concussion Oversight Team (COT), must take an approved course that is at least two hours in duration once every two years:
  • a coach of an interscholastic athletic activity;
  • a school nurse who serves as a member of a concussion oversight team;
  • a licensed health care professional (including an athletic trainer) who serves as a member of a concussion oversight team (LEA employee and volunteers)
Additional Notes on Training Requirements:
  • A physician who serves as a member of a concussion oversight team shall, to the greatest extent practicable, periodically take an appropriate continuing medical education course in the subject matter of concussions.
  • A school nurse or licensed health care professional who is not in compliance with the training requirements under this section may not serve on a concussion oversight team in any capacity.
The University Interscholastic League (UIL) Concussions and Concussion Management Protocol Requirements and Information website contains information over state requirements, sample forms, and information on training requirements. Health & Safety — University Interscholastic League (UIL) (uiltexas.org)

 

Physical Fitness Assessment / FitnessGram

Yes, the Texas Education Code §38.101 requires LEAs to annually assess the physical fitness of students enrolled in grade three or higher in a course that satisfies the curriculum requirements for physical education. LEAs are required to provide the results of individual student performance on the physical fitness assessments to the Texas Education Agency. EDUCATION CODE CHAPTER 38. HEALTH AND SAFETY (texas.gov)
There are 6 fitness assessment tests that must be conducted, these include: aerobic capacity, body composition, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility. (Texas Education Code §38.102 EDUCATION CODE CHAPTER 38. HEALTH AND SAFETY (texas.gov))
The Physical Fitness Assessment Initiative (PFAI) is the program the Texas Education Agency utilizes to collect the required student physical fitness data reports from LEAs and analyze the results. Additional information on the PFAI can be found on the TEA webpage at the following address: Physical Fitness Assessment Initiative | Texas Education Agency

 

FitnessGram® is a software program developed by the Cooper Institute that allows LEAs to collect the results of student fitness assessments. In previous school years, TEA has entered into an agreement with the Cooper Institute to offer the FitnessGram software at no cost to all school districts and charter schools in Texas.  There was not an agreement for this service during the 2020-2021 school year.  LEAs may still utilize Fitnessgram for submitting the required physical fitness assessment information to TEA, but would have to contract with the Cooper Institute for this service.  Additional information on FitnessGram can be found at the following web address: FitnessGram by The Cooper Institute
The physical fitness assessments must be conducted annually on students enrolled in grade three or higher in a course that satisfies the curriculum requirements for physical education.
The LEA may determine whether to conduct the physical fitness assessments of students in the fall or spring semester. If a LEA chooses to conduct physical fitness assessments in both the fall and spring semester, the LEA should submit the most recent fitness assessment test reports to TEA in the annual data submission.
The physical fitness assessment reports (submitted through PFAI or FitnessGram) are typically due to TEA on the second Friday of June each school year. However, in the 2020-2021 school year the deadline was extended to August 13, 2021.

 

Physical Activity

The Texas Education Code §28.002(l) specifies the number of minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity that students in elementary, middle, and high school must participate in.
 
Elementary School: Students in full-day prekindergarten, kindergarten, or in grades below 6 must participate in moderate or vigorous daily physical activity for at least 30 minutes, this requirement may be met through the physical education curriculum or through structured activity during daily recess. To the extent practicable, students attending prekindergarten on less than a full-day basis should participate in the same type and amount of physical activity as students in full-day prekindergarten classes.
 
If a LEA determines, for any grade level below 6th grade, that requiring daily moderate or vigorous physical activity is impractical due to scheduling concerns or other factors, the LEA may as an alternative require a student in that grade to participate in moderate or vigorous physical activity for at least 135 minutes during each school week.
 
Middle School: Students in grades 6th, 7th, and 8th are required to participate in moderate or vigorous daily physical activity for at least 30 minutes for at least four semesters during those grade levels as part of the physical education curriculum.
 
As an alternative, a LEA may require a student enrolled in a grade level for which the district uses block scheduling to participate in moderate or vigorous physical activity for at least 225 minutes during each period of two school weeks.

EDUCATION CODE CHAPTER 28. COURSES OF STUDY; ADVANCEMENT (texas.gov)

PE FAQ (texas.gov)

 

Recess

One of the duties of the School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) detailed in the Texas Education Code §28.004 is making recommendations to the district concerning the importance of daily recess for elementary school students. In making these recommendations, the SHAC must consider research regarding unstructured and undirected play, academic and social development, and the health benefits of daily recess.  The SHAC must ensure local community values are reflected in any policy recommendation made to the LEA. EDUCATION CODE CHAPTER 28. COURSES OF STUDY; ADVANCEMENT (texas.gov)
 
The Texas Education Code §28.002(l) specifies that students in full-day prekindergarten, kindergarten, or in grades below 6 must participate in moderate or vigorous daily physical activity for at least 30 minutes, this requirement may be met through the physical education curriculum or through structured activity during daily recess. EDUCATION CODE CHAPTER 28. COURSES OF STUDY; ADVANCEMENT (texas.gov)

 

Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)

The YRBS is a federally funded survey of students used to monitor health-related behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among youth and adults. The survey also measures the prevalence of obesity and asthma and other health-related behaviors plus sexual identity and sex of sexual contacts.  The behavior categories included in the survey are:
  • Behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence
  • Sexual behaviors related to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection
  • Alcohol and other drug use
  • Tobacco use
  • Unhealthy dietary behaviors
  • Inadequate physical activity
More information can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Youth Risk Surveillance System website at the following web address: YRBSS | Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System | Data | Adolescent and School Health | CDC
The YRBS is conducted biennially (every other year) in odd-numbered years (2019, 2021, 2023, etc.).
The data from the YRBS is used to track trends in student health-related behavior, monitor progress towards meeting health-related objectives and to provide important data to identify public health problems, develop policy and interventions, and promote preventative health practices and behaviors.
No, participation in the YRBS is voluntary and not required by LEAs. If a LEA administers the survey, student participation requires parent/guardian permission and students are not required to respond to any questions they are not comfortable with answering.
The Texas Department of State Health Services has a Texas Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System website that includes data briefs and results, the Texas YRBS calendar, and YRBSS Questionnaires.  Texas Department of State Health Services, YRBS Home Page

 

Steroids

Yes, the Texas Education Code 33.091(c-1) requires each LEA employee who serves as an athletic coach at or above 7th grade for an extracurricular athletic activity sponsored or sanctioned by the University Interscholastic League (UIL) to complete the educational program developed by the UIL regarding the health effects of steroid use or a comparable program developed by the LEA or a private entity with relevant expertise.

EDUCATION CODE CHAPTER 33. SERVICE PROGRAMS AND EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES (texas.gov)

The UIL educational video on the health effects of steroids can be found on the UIL website at the following link: Steroid Education Video — Health & Safety — University Interscholastic League (UIL) (uiltexas.org)
Yes, the Texas Education Code §38.008 requires each school in a school district in which there is a grade seven or higher to post in a conspicuous location in the school gymnasium and each other place in a building where physical education classes are conducted the following notice:
Anabolic steroids are for medical use only. State law prohibits possessing, dispensing, delivering, or administering an anabolic steroid in any manner not allowed by state law.  State law provides that bodybuilding, muscle enhancement, or the increase of muscle bulk or strength through the use of an anabolic steroid or human growth hormone by a person who is in good health is not a valid medical purpose.  Only a medical doctor may prescribe an anabolic steroid or human growth hormone for a person.  A violation of state law concerning anabolic steroids or human growth hormones is a criminal offense punishable by confinement in jail or imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. EDUCATION CODE CHAPTER 38. HEALTH AND SAFETY (texas.gov)