ELGIN, Ill. (AP) - A school district in a Chicago suburb is considering a pilot program that would let students choose how they stay physically active instead of participating in a traditional gym class.
The Elgin Area School District may offer an online physical education course where students use monitors to track their activity and heart rate, The Courier-News reported. Students would be required to move 150 minutes a week, but can choose what physical activities they partake in.
The school board is scheduled to vote on the proposal later this month.
The pilot program is estimated to cost almost $19,000. The course would be offered next school year to about 125 juniors and seniors at Elgin High School, Bartlett High School and the Dream Academy.
The funds would be used to purchase heart rate monitors, acquire online materials and train instructors, who would meet with students about a dozen times to go over the technology, said Tracey Jakaitis, the district's student wellness coordinator.
"Throughout the rest of the semester, the teacher's role will be to continuously monitor, check in, check work and check fitness data the students will be reporting," Jakaitis said.
The program will encourage students to make independent decisions about their physical education based on their preferences, and push them toward finding physical activity outside of school, she said.
"They're 17 years old, 18 years old. What do they want to do for physical activity? What do they enjoy?" Jakaitis said.
Jakaitis said the district is also exploring the possibility of partnering with local parks districts and fitness centers to offer students physical fitness programs and classes.