Riverhead School District

No more physical education classes for athletes?

Riverhead's Ryan DiResta competes in the hurdles of the pentathlon. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)
Riverhead’s Ryan DiResta competes in the hurdles of the pentathlon. Students may be allowed to count their after-school sports toward physical education credits. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

Riverhead School District is exploring the feasibility of exempting students from physical education classes if they participate in after-school sports. 

Assistant superintendent David Wicks gave a presentation at Tuesday’s school board meeting about the district’s options in response to a parent who asked at a previous meeting if student athletes could take other classes instead of gym if they play on a sports team.

Mr. Wicks said the only school system in the state that currently offers such an arrangement is New York City public schools. He said the biggest challenge is accommodating students who decide to quit sports mid-year and getting them into gym classes.

Another issue is the time frame for sport seasons. For example, he said, if a student only plays a fall sport, then they would need to enter a gym class in the middle of the second quarter when the season ends. One solution under consideration, he said, is only exempting students from gym class if they are involved with sports for all three seasons.

Since physical education is a graduation requirement, Mr. Wicks said at least one coach on a team must also be a certified teacher in order for students to meet the requirements.

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