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News & Updates

October 28, 2021

New Policy Brief: Reengaging Students through Physical Activity

Today, CDC and National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) authors released a new policy update on how state boards of education can support equitable access to physical activity and quality physical education. The “Reengaging Students Through Physical Activity” policy brief provides an analysis of how policymaking, convening, and community partnerships play a role in prioritizing physical education and equitable access to physical activity in school.

According to a NASBE press release, its State Policy Database on School Health, shows “only nine states require daily recess for students of all ages or in certain grades. Overlooked opportunities such as ensuring students have safe routes for walking, biking, or rolling to and from school and setting up shared-use agreements to allow after-hours access to school gymnasiums, fields, and playgrounds can help boost students’ activity levels. States like Arkansas, Michigan, and Virginia have leveraged community partnerships to ensure such opportunities are available.”

CDC recommends that schools adopt a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program

(CSPAP) to increase physical activity opportunities before, during, and after school. A CSPAP can also provide more equitable access to physical activity for students during the school day.

Read and share “Reengaging Students through Physical Activity.”

October 26, 2021

AAP,  AACAP,  CHA  Declare  National  Emergency  in  Children's  Mental Health

The AAP, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and Children's Hospital Association have declared a national emergency in children's mental health, citing the serious toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on top of existing challenges.

They are urging policymakers to take action swiftly to address the crisis.

"Young people have endured so much throughout this pandemic and while much of the attention is often placed on its physical health consequences, we cannot overlook the escalating mental health crisis facing our patients," AAP President Lee Savio Beers, M.D., FAAP, said in a statement. "Today's declaration is an urgent call to policymakers at all levels of government - we must treat this mental health crisis like the emergency it is."

Before the pandemic, rates of childhood mental health concerns and suicide had been rising steadily for at least a decade. By 2018, suicide was the second leading cause of death for youths ages 10-24 years.

The pandemic then brought on physical isolation, ongoing uncertainty, fear and grief. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers quantified that toll in several reports. They found between March and October 2020, emergency department visits for mental health emergencies rose by 24% for children ages 5-11 years and 31% for children ages 12-17 years. In addition, emergency department visits for suspected suicide attempts increased nearly 51% among girls ages 12-17 years in early 2021 compared to the same period in 2019.

Additionally, many young people have been impacted by loss of a loved one. Recent data show that more than 140,000 U.S. children have experienced the death of a primary or secondary caregiver during the COVID-19 pandemic, with children of color disproportionately impacted.

"We are caring for young people with soaring rates of depression, anxiety, trauma, loneliness, and suicidality that will have lasting impacts on them, their families, their communities, and all of our futures," said AACP President Gabrielle A. Carlson, M.D. "We cannot sit idly by. This is a national emergency, and the time for swift and deliberate action is now."

In the declaration, the groups emphasize that young people in communities of color have been impacted by the pandemic more than others and how the ongoing struggle for racial justice is inextricably tied to the worsening mental health crisis.

"Children and families across our country have experienced enormous adversity and disruption," the groups stated in the declaration. "The inequities that result from structural racism have contributed to disproportionate impacts on children from communities of color."

The organizations are urging policymakers to take several actions:

  • Increase federal funding to ensure all families can access mental health services.
  • Improve access to telemedicine.
  • Support effective models of school-based mental health care.
  • Accelerate integration of mental health care in primary care pediatrics.
  • Strengthen efforts to reduce the risk of suicide in children and adolescents.
  • Address ongoing challenges of the acute care needs of children and adolescents.
  • Fully fund community-based systems of care that connect families to evidence-based interventions.
  • Promote and pay for trauma-informed care services.
  • Address workforce challenges and shortages so that children can access mental health services no matter where they live.
  • Advance policies that ensure compliance with mental health parity laws.

"We must identify strategies to meet these challenges through innovation and action," the groups wrote, "using state, local and national approaches to improve the access to and quality of care across the continuum of mental health promotion, prevention, and treatment."

From The AAP News. Retrieved October 26, 2021.

July 27, 2020

The Society of State Leaders of Health and Physical Education Signs Active Schools' Statement:
PE and PA are an integral part of the education process during COVID-19

Active Schools has developed a statement about PE and PA being an integral part of the education process during COVID-19. It is meant to give stakeholders and advocates talking points to help ensure that PE and PA are provided by their district/school this year. The Society of State Leaders has signed on to the statement. Please use and disseminate this statement as you deem appropriate and as necessary. Please use #PEduringCOVID on social media. The statement is available on the Active Schools website at

Download the Statement from the Society Website

June 1, 2020

The Society of State Leaders of Health and Physical Education

Statement for Equity and Justice

Rosemary Reilly-Chammat, Ed.D., President of the Society of State Leaders of Health and Physical Education, and the Society's Leadership Team is proud to share, with our membership, this statement of solidarity and support to the populations we serve across our nation.

Ongoing events that have culminated in the recent uprisings across the country are a harsh reminder of the critical work needed to create fundamental change and address systemic inequities. For the last 94 years, the Society and its members work each day to build skills, facilitate constructive exchanges of ideas and resources, influence stakeholders of the value of a healthy school culture and climate (as well as in the community), and collaborate with others to leverage resources that create positive synergy. We work every day to build systems to ensure that all of the nation’s children and youth can lead healthy, active, and productive lives.

There is much work that needs to be done to ensure that every child, no matter who they are or where they live, has access to the same opportunities for good health, education, and economic security. We recognize inequities that exist across race, socioeconomic indicators and built environments that create persistent disparities in health and education outcomes.

We are proud to work with many great national organizations to address critical issues and inequities for the most vulnerable and disenfranchised. We are proud to be a part of groups that promote quality education and a safe and healthy (physically, mentally, and emotionally) environment in the school and beyond. Children and youth need strong role models encouraging a safe environment to grow in and to learn effectively. We pledge to stand in solidarity with others to do our part to promote equity and justice.

Download the Society's Statement for Equity and Justice

April 4, 2020

Networking Opportunity Sponsored by
the Society of State Leaders of Health and Physical Education

Join us for a conversation about COVID-19 Issues

Read the Summary of the March 30, 2020 Meeting (Member Login Required)

Read the Summary of the April 2, 2020 Meeting (Member Login Required)

Read the Summary of the April 7, 2020 Meeting (Member Login Required)

We see rapid changes daily related to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the education system. The impact on the health and physical education programming is unique. The Society is on call and available to help our state level members and partners stay connected and use each other as valuable resources to share strategies for managing new policies while maintaining other critical initiatives. In response to a couple of members’ requests, we have scheduled three dates and times that you may call-in to the Society conference line to ask questions of individuals in other states or to share results of your state’s work.

If you have specific questions or topics you want addressed, send them to both President Rosemary Reilly-Chammat and Executive Director Fran Anthony Meyer at and so that we might do a little pre-meeting research.

Meeting Dates:

Monday, March 30, 2020 (This session was beneficial)

Thursday, April 2, 2020  (Another beneficial session)

Tuesday, April 7, 2020 (A third beneficial session)

Each day the meeting will be held at 2:00 pm ET, 1:00 pm CT, 12:00 PM MT, and 11:00 am PT.  

Call-in number and access code are: 1-712-775-7031 and 928-661-556#.

SPECIAL NOTE: We received notice from the conference call service that when people call in right on the hour, they may experience problems or delays getting through. To avoid overload on the system, it is recommended that call-ins occur slightly before or after the hour. 

We look forward to hearing from you and talking with you.

Rosemary Reilly-Chammat, President

Fran Anthony Meyer, Executive Director

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P.O. Box 41253
Fredericksburg, VA 22404

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