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Healthy Schools Act

The Healthy Schools Act of 2010, DC Official Code § 38-821.01 et seq., is a comprehensive piece of legislation that ensures District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), public charter schools, and participating private schools are a healthy place for all students. The Healthy Schools Act includes many health and nutrition requirements for District schools and agencies, including: nutrition and food-sourcing standards, local reimbursements, and public disclosure requirements for meals; requirements for vending, fundraising, and prizes in schools; programs for promoting farm-to-school, locally-grown, and sustainable agriculture practices; physical education and health education requirements and standards; the Environmental Literacy Program and school gardens program; and funding for school health-related grants.

The Healthy Schools Act was most recently amended by the Healthy Students Amendment Act 2018, which made the following key changes to nutrition, physical activity, and physical education requirements:

School Meal and Nutrition Requirements

  • Creates a new annual $2.00 per-student subsidy for schools that implement an alternative breakfast serving model, such as breakfast in the classroom or grab-and-go carts, to purchase equipment and supplies to operate the alternative breakfast model;
  • Allows elementary schools to apply for a waiver to the Breakfast in the Classroom requirement;
  • Increases the breakfast reimbursement to 20 cents per meal served;
  • Requires schools to provide daily vegetarian options for breakfast and lunch at all grade levels;
  • Requires schools to provide reasonable accommodations for religious and non-medical dietary restrictions;
  • Requires all milk to be unflavored; and
  • Requires that all grain products be whole-grain rich.

Physical Education and Physical Activity Requirements

  • Reduces the physical education instruction time requirement to a minimum of 90 minutes per week for kindergarten through grade 5;
  • Reduces the physical education instruction time requirement to a minimum of 135 minutes per week for grades 6-8;
  • Requires at least 50 percent of physical education instruction time be devoted to moderate-to-vigorous physical activity;
  • Encourages schools to schedule at least 20 minutes of recess on a daily basis for students in kindergarten through grade 8;
  • Requires students in pre-K3 and pre-K4 receive an average of 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day, with at least two 20 minute sessions of outdoor physical activity; and
  • Requires schools to submit an annual action plan to OSSE if they were unable to meet the weekly physical education instruction time requirements for the previous school year.

Throughout OSSE’s resources, “HSA” will be used to refer to the law, including all amendments, as codified at DC Code §§38-821.01 et seq. For a complete overview of all of the HSA requirements, please view the Healthy Schools Act Informational Guide. For a summary of HSA nutrition requirements, please view the HSA Nutrition Overview or view the Healthy Schools Act Nutrition Webinar.

More information about OSSE’s work related to the HSA is available in the links provided below:

The Healthy Schools Act also establishes policies and reporting requirements for District schools and agencies, including: The School Health Profiles, Local Wellness Policies, Healthy Schools Act Report, and the Healthy Youth and Schools Commission Report. More information about this work is available in the links provided below:

The Healthy Schools Act also establishes the Healthy Youth and Schools Commission. More information about the commission is available on the link provided below:

Service Contact: 
Policy, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives Team
Contact Email: 
Contact Phone: 
(202) 442-9274
Contact TTY: 
Contact Suite #: 
Sixth Floor
Service Location: 

1050 First Street, NE

GIS Address: 
1050 First Street, NE