CHICAGO (CBS) — As part of its plans for a longer school day at the Chicago Public Schools, physical education classes will be phased back in for all high school juniors and seniors.

As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, most schools have had the P.E. requirement waived since 1997. Recess will also return for all elementary schools by next school year.

“It’s something that really needs to happen in our schools,” CPS Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard said. “When you take a look at the … obesity epidemic, as well as diabetes issues that we have in really poor parts of the city, we’ve got some work to do here.”

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

Brizard said the Board of Education will give high schools two years to get their physical education programs back into place for the 11th and 12th grades.

“There really is no facilities issue with the high schools. It’s a programmatic issue and a staffing issue; of course, money as well,” Brizard said, “But we anticipate having to hire about 200 phys ed teachers over the next two years until we begin to reintroduce physical education back into all four years of high school.”

Perhaps ironically, the requirement for recess for the elementary schools will require new facilities for many schools, but their programs will all be in place next fall.

“We expect some issues in terms of facilities, in terms of … maybe even safety in some cases, when you look at some parts of our city,” Brizard said. “But we intend to reintroduce recess back into the elementary schools.”

Brizard is the guest on this weekend’s “At Issue” program. You can hear more of his interview Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.