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December 14, 2017

Health Department Encourages Student Physical Activity—Even During Inversions

Pam Davenport - Email

Nicholas Rupp - Email

(SALT LAKE COUNTY)—As the Wasatch Front continues to experience an extended temperature inversion that traps harmful pollutants in the Salt Lake Valley’s air, the Salt Lake County Health Department (SLCoHD) announced a new program to assist local schools in keeping students physically active—even when air quality guidelines keep kids indoors for recess.

Health experts say that a lack of physical activity can negatively affect both students’ physical health and their academic performance.

“Research shows that physical activity throughout the day helps students focus, achieve more academically, and start forming healthy habits early,” said Emmalee Price, SLCoHD health educator.

The health department has a variety of equipment available for schools to borrow to assist teachers in implementing physical activity “brain breaks” within the classroom, or to supplement recess or PE classes.

Schools can use most of the equipment year-round, either indoors or out, but SLCoHD expects the free rental program to be especially popular during periods of poor air quality when Utah Department of Health guidelines recommend children remain indoors for recess.

Equipment available for rent, at no cost to the schools, includes:
  • 4 spikeball sets
  • Set of 6 scooter boards
  • 4 mini frisbee golf sets
  • 2 giant inflatable bowling sets
  • 4 Wii box sets (include the Wii console, 4 controllers, and 2 physical activity games)
  • 4 recess equipment packs (rubber dodgeballs, carrying case, jump ropes, footballs, soccer balls, skip-its, and frisbees)
  • 6 scoop-ball sets
  • 5 bean bag sets (packs of 12) with game ideas

Public, private and charter schools K-12, as well as childcare/daycare centers, are all eligible to rent the equipment, provided they complete a rental agreement form. If a school has success with a particular rental item, there is opportunity for them to apply for a health department stipend to purchase their own item(s) to create a sustainable physical activity program.

“Our goal with this program is to help ensure all Salt Lake County kids have the tools they need to do well in school, and that includes a successful recess or PE period of healthy physical activity,” said Price.

Interested schools can request equipment or learn more by calling 385-468-5341.

***Photo/Video Opportunity***
Kids using “recess rental” equipment during their indoor recess. SLCoHD health educators will be available for interviews, too.

Friday, December 15

10:00 to 10:30 a.m.

Altara Elementary

800 East 11000 South

Idling motor vehicles are a significant contributor to the PM2.5 pollution that causes poor air quality. Canyons School District is the first district in Utah to go idle-free at all its school campuses—an idea that originated with Altara Elementary parent Cindy Boyer, who was frustrated at seeing exhaust billowing into the air at her children’s school parking lot during morning drop-offs and afternoon pickups. Under an initiative approved by the Board of Education, the district placed no-idling signs at each of its 43 schools and sent informational pamphlets home to parents encouraging drivers to voluntarily “turn their keys and be idle-free.”