LAWS & REGULATIONS

Following are state and federal laws and regulations that govern school wellness policies and
​provide standards for nutrition, physical education and physical activity in Rhode Island schools.  

FEDERAL LAWS & REGULATIONS

​These laws/regulations apply to ALL RI schools (public/charter/independent/parochial) that participate ​in the USDA reimbursable school meals program.

Regulation included in the Child Nutrition and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Reauthorization Act passed by Congress in 2004 requiring each local educational agency that participates in the National School Lunch Program or other federal Child Nutrition programs to establish a local school/district wellness policy by the 2006-2007 school year.

Additional provisions included in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act passed by Congress in 2010 requiring each local educational agency that participates in the National School Lunch Program or other federal Child Nutrition programs to establish a local school/district wellness policy by the 2006-2007 school year.

Regulation updating nutrition standards for all foods/beverages sold outside of the federal meals program starting in school year 2014-2015

Regulation addressing nutrition standards for the reimbursable federal meals program. 

STATE LAWS & REGULATIONS

​These laws/regulations apply to ALL RI public/charter schools and schools under the control or management ​of the State of RI.

Law passed by the RI General Assembly in 1947 requiring all RI public schools to make a lunch program available to students.  

Law passed by the RI General Assembly in 1998 requiring all RI public schools to make a breakfast program available to students.  

​​Law passed by the RI General Assembly in 2005 requiring all RI districts to establish a wellness committee as a sub-committee of the full school committee. 

Law passed by the RI General Assembly in 2006/07 requiring all RI schools to sell ONLY healthier snacks and beverages outside of the federal reimbursable meals program (including vending, fundraising, school stores and other sales before, during and one hour after the school day).  Update to law in 2016 to align RI nutrition standards with new federal nutrition standards while preserving stronger state provisions for caffeine and artificial sweetener ban. 
See USDA Smart Snacks in Schools​ and RI Nutrition Requirements.

​Law passed by the RI General Assembly in 2007 requiring all RI public middle and high schools to teach students about how to recognize and avoid dating violence. 

Criteria first approved by the RI Board of Education in 2009 to add additional nutrition requirements for school meals and prohibit sales of competitive foods/beverages in elementary schools.  In 2016, these standards were aligned with strengthened USDA meal nutrition standards, while preserving a stronger state whole grain requirement, fruit/vegetables offerings and ban on artificial sweeteners and caffeine.  

Law passed by the RI General Assembly in 2012 that requires all school PE program curriculum be based on the standards of the RI Physical Education Framework (in addition to average 20 minutes/day instruction in PE/Health for students in grades 1 – 12). ​

RI Physical Education Framework

Law passed by the RI General Assembly in 2016 requiring any RI public school that has elementary grades K – 6 to offer students daily supervised, safe and unstructured free play recess for 20 consecutive minutes each day. 

​Law passed by the RI General Assembly in 2018 that prohibits the advertising and marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages in schools that do not meet minimum federal/state nutrition standards.

Three documents dictate health education standards, requirements and educational outcomes in RI for grades K-12.

Health education curriculum must be aligned with:
Rhode Island Curriculum Framework for Health Education K-12
Comprehensive Health Instructional Outcomes

Specific requirements for health education are outlined here:
Rules and Regulations for School Health Programs

Law passed by the RI General Assembly in 2021 that requires schools to comply with recycling and composting laws and promote the donation of unspoiled nonperishable food and the use of share tables. 

Law passed by the RI General Assembly in 2021 that requires all school personnel, including teachers, teaching assistants, administrators, custodians, food service, substitutes, nurses, coaches and coaching staff, to be trained in suicide prevention and awareness.