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Heart rate monitors now required in Dubuque P.E. classes

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DUBUQUE — New this school year, every middle and high school student enrolled in physical education class at a Dubuque public middle and high schools will use a heart rate monitor during class. The school district says it’s part of a new plan to improve every student’s health.

Dubuque Schools Athletic and Wellness Director Amy Hawkins said, “It really takes the opinion out of things. It’s no longer, ‘I think your kid is doing this or this class.’”

On Thursday, P.E. teachers whose classes will use the monitors got a chance to test out the technology. Every student will wear the strap around his or her chest. Then as bodies start moving, each student’s heart rate will appear on the teacher’s iPad and a large projector on the wall. The teacher collects and records all of that data.

Washington Middle School P.E. Teacher Rick Loeffelholz said, “As they’re participating in the class they can literally just look up at the screen and say ‘hey I’m in the zone. Here’s what I need to do. I can keep going.’”

While the target heart rate varies from student to student, everyone will be required to reach their target heart rate for the majority of the class period.

“It will be a large portion of their grade. That’s because we want to grade them on what they are actually doing in our class,” said Hawkins.

Teachers will hand out monitors to middle school students at the beginning of each class period. In high school, each student will keep track of their own and bring it in every day.

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