Skip to Content

Physical Education/Activity : FAQ's

Question: Is Physical Education required in Elementary and Middle Schools?

Answer:  Yes according to Minimum Rules and Regulations Chapter 0520-1-3,Rule 0520-1-3-.05 ii (e) (See below)

October, 2003 (Revised) 13

(e) Health, Physical Education, and Wellness.

  • Health and Physical Education, Grades K-8. The health education and physical education programs, provided annually, shall be based on state curriculum standards and shall be developmentally appropriate with instruction focusing on activities which will promote good health habits and enhance physical fitness.
  • Wellness, Grades 9-12. Students shall complete 1 unit of wellness. The Program shall be based on the state curriculum standards and shall integrate concepts from areas of health and physical fitness.
    • Participation in marching band and interscholastic athletics shall not be substituted for the wellness requirement.  Credit earned in two years of JROTC may be substituted for the wellness requirement provided the local board of education has complied with the requirements of the State Board of Education.

Question:  What qualifies as 90 minutes of Physical Activity?

Answer:  According to Chapter 1001  Public Acts, 2006  House Bill 3750

It is the duty of each local education agency to integrate a minimum of ninety (90) minutes of physical activity per week into the instructional school day for elementary and secondary school students.  Opportunities to engage in physical activity may include walking, jumping rope, playing volleyball, or other forms of physical activities that promote fitness and well-being.

The Tennessee Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance   (TAHPERD) defines physical activity as:
Physical activity in an educational setting is defined as a behavior consisting of bodily movement that requires energy expenditure above the normal physiological (muscular, cardiorespiratory) requirements of a typical school day.

      Implementation Considerations Provided by TAHPERD

  • Physical activity in an educational setting includes regular instruction in physical education, co-curricular activities and recess.
  • Physical education classes should be offered with moderate to vigorous physical activity being an integral part of the class.
  • Co-curricular activities include physical activity integrated into areas of the school program—classroom, gymnasium and/or outdoor activity spaces.

 Question:  Does the DOE have guidelines for Recess in the elementary schools?

  Answer:  The state does not have a rule or policy on recess. It is a local decision. 

The National Association for Sports and Physical Education (NASPE) does have some recommendation for Recess:
It is the position of NASPE that all elementary school children should be provided with at least one daily period of recess for at least 20 minutes in length.
See web site at:

Question:  Are there DOE guidelines on Athletics?

 Answer:  Guidelines are as follows:


(1) The State Board of Education recognizes the value of participation in interscholastic athletics and the role of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association in coordinating interscholastic athletic competition. The State Board of Education authorizes the public schools of the state to voluntarily maintain membership in the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association.

(2) The total basketball games allowed per team in a school which serves any combination of grades K through 8 shall not exceed 20 during a school year. Tournaments shall count as two games notwithstanding the number of games in which each team participates in a tournament. Practice can begin no earlier than four weeks prior to the first scheduled game and shall end after the last tournament or regular season game in which the team participates.

(3) All athletic practice within the regular hours of any school day must be approved on an annual basis by the local board of education; such action must be reflected in the minutes of the local board of education. All approved athletic practice during the regular hours of any school day shall conform to the same rules, regulations, and seasons as corresponding athletic practice outside the school day.

(4) A local board of education shall not authorize high school credits in physical education for participation in interscholastic athletic practice during regular school hours.

Question:  Does the DOE have a Physical Activity Policy?

Answer:  Yes. Physical Activity Policy.pdf

 Question:  Does the DOE have guidelines on Playgrounds?

Answer:  No specific guidelines please see the U.S. CONSUMER PRODUCTSAFETY COMMISSION’S Handbook for Public Playground Safety