West Virginia State Senator Patricia Rucker makes child health and fitness public policy priority

West Virginia

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HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. (WDVM) — A West Virginia state senator from the eastern panhandle has long been concerned about the health and nutrition of Mountain State youth. And with students homebound, that concern is raised to a new level.

Senator Patricia Rucker has long been an advocate for innovative education options. When she moved to the United States from Venezuela, her passion was to be a teacher. She is that and the mother of five. Her “health first” pilot program through the school system is designed to get students into a regular routine of nutrition and fitness and keep an online log to track each child’s progress. With students pretty much confined to their homes due to the coronavirus, she says physical activity and healthy lifestyles can be more of a challenge now.

“We are actually requiring students for their work online to be doing assignments participating in Zoom meetings but it’s mostly sitting in front of a screen,” Senator Rucker says. “And especially with all the consciousness with health I think it’s really important that we find a way to keep the kids active and we want them to be healthy.”

And many parents of school age children are on board with the emphasis on health and fitness.

“It’s important to keep the kids connected,” says Jefferson County parent Colleen Spotts, “not only with the educators that are going to be teaching PE classes, but for them to also know that other students throughout the state are doing the exact same things.”

Senator Rucker hopes to expand her pilot project statewide in the 2021 legislative session.

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