The Garnet Mine

Opting Out of Gym at RHS

The flaws in the process

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Opting Out of Gym at RHS

Ella Garnett, Editor

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The semester began exactly a month ago and the out-of-district opting out of gym students have yet to be cleared. For the in-district students, who are playing sports within the school, opting out is easy–you fill out a quick form and boom it’s automatically done. If you’re one of the out-of-district students, who must log at least six hours a week of activity, have each hour signed off on by a supervisor, and endure the extensive waiting period while your form passes through 4 levels of administrative approval. For both the students opting out through in-district and out-of-district, the level of exercise accumulated outside of school is at least six times the amount done in a gym class.

While physical education may be an enjoyable way to break up the day, the fact of the matter is that at most during the week students in gym are getting around an hour of light movement from the class. Senior Isabelle Schindler said, “Why do I have to prove 6 hours a week of activity when I only spend 2 hours a week in gym?” Practically, the class cannot be a substantial substitute for legitimate exercise–there’s not enough time, resources, or reasoning to make it so. So why should the students opting-out be held to such a difficult standard?

This cycle of opt outs begins at the end of January, the end of 1st semester, and both students who play in-school winter sports and spring sports have the opportunity to opt out. Winter sports students easily slide out of their gym classes, but by the end of January most winter sports are coming to an end. Many students are able to opt out for the whole semester with a sport that only has days left. On the other hand, spring sports students are not able to opt out until March when their sports begin. Although spring sports take up most of the semester and winter sports only a few days, spring players can only opt out for half while winter players opt out for the whole semester. Senior Delucia Lepore said, “They aren’t letting me opt out in district for spring golf until the roster officially comes out and I make the team… I’ve been playing this sport for 5 years and I’m a co-captain I think I’m gonna make the team.” 

Students who wish to opt out of gym out-of-district can only do so if they are part of a high-time commitment club sport elsewhere with a coach or advisor to sign of on their hours. If a student does not play a sport like this and still wishes to opt out, they must hire an expensive personal trainer–which is not an option for many students. There are quite a few students who are frustrated by this because time spent at the YMCA or Lifetime doesn’t qualify for opting-out. Personally, I find it frustrating that when I go to the YMCA 3 or 4 times a week, I still must stay in gym even though I get much more exercise on my own. Furthermore, if you are eligible to opt-out out-of-district, it takes almost half the semester to be approved by signature of several administrators. This week many spring sports opt-outs went through before the out-of-district ones did. Senior Emma Brooks said, “I’ve done the same activity 20 hours a week my whole life but each semester I have to waste 2 months of my life waiting for someone to sign my opt out form confirming that the activity they’ve already approved numerous times is still valid.” and Senior Laura Ferguson said, “Rye will give you 3 tests in one day but it takes them 2 months to sign a piece of paper.”

This article is in no way a criticism of the class of physical education itself or the wonderful teachers. The Phys. Ed. teachers have been more accommodating to the students waiting on opt-out forms to be approved by allowing us to get lunch, take tests, and run school-related errands around the building. Many students chose to stay in gym and have an enjoyable time with the various activities and excellent teachers. Similarly to how in-district students are easily able to opt-out online using Family ID, out of district students should do the same. There should be a way for students who go to the gym everyday to opt out. This article is the criticism of a system that is inefficient, unfair, and antiquated. Extracurricular sports and exercise are a huge commitment on top of school work, so students who wish to opt out and use the extra time as a lunch period or study hall deserve to do so.

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Opting Out of Gym at RHS