BOE passes new schools wellness plan

ELKINS — After approving a wellness policy Tuesday relating to everything from physical education to nutrition and celebrations in schools, the Randolph County Board of Education will now await approval from the state board for finalization of the plan.

LaDonna Rosencrance, coordinator of child nutrition for Randolph County Schools, gave a brief explanation of the policy during the board’s regular meeting.

“It’s up to the wellness committee to come up with the policy for parties and then the board has to approve it. The one thing with the policy was, items have to be — because of health and safety regulations — prepackaged from the store, and because of allergies, the ingredients must be on the package so that everyone can read them because we have so many children with allergies,” Rosencrance said.

The policy will be submitted to the West Virginia Board of Education for official review and final approval following the county BOE’s approval on Tuesday.

There are eight sections covered by the proposed policy, including the following: nutrition education and promotion, USDA child nutrition program and school meals, nutrition standards for other foods and beverages, physical education, physical activity, communications and promotion, school celebrations and evaluation.

Superintendent Gabriel “Gabe” Devono said, “Sometimes there is nothing we can do about the policy — there are only a couple exceptions we can make as a county.”

Rosencrance went on to explain the updated policy does not limit the amount of “goodies” students can consume.

“We didn’t say, ‘You can only have one cupcake.’ That’s pretty much out there — as long as the items are store-bought with the ingredients on the package,” Rosencrance said. “It’s pretty much up to the school to say these are the guidelines, but the principal can decide, ‘we’re going to limit things — we won’t have a cookie and a cupcake and soda and treat bags.'”

She emphasized these guidelines are specific to school celebrations, including holidays during the school year.

“You have to realize as long as you have the ingredients on the package — in case somebody would eat it and have an allergy — we’re safe,” Devono added.

As stated in the proposed policy, the Randolph County BOE openly recognizes regular physical activity and good nutrition are likely to affect the health and well-being of students in the county.

“Furthermore, research suggests that there is a positive correlation between a student’s health and well-being and his/her ability to learn. Schools can increase the important role in the development process by which students establish their health and nutrition habits by providing nutritious meals and snacks, supporting the development of good eating habits, and promoting increased physical activity both in and out of school,” the policy states.

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump’s administration decided to relax standards on school food nutrition guidelines previously enacted by President Barrack Obama’s administration. However, each state in the country also has specific guidelines that each county school system within that state must abide by.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting:

The board unanimously approved a request from the superintendent to pay Ralph Waybright for the final payment on Midland Elementary School’s playground excavation. The total cost is $6,281.64 and will be paid by the Midland Elementary School Playground account.