Ten minutes is all the time available for recess in Fairfax CountyPosted: June 8, 2011
In 2006, the Virginia Board of Education adopted revised Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia. These revisions added the words “and recess” to the section on the standard school day: “The standard school day for students in grades 1 through 12 shall average at least 5-1/2 hours, excluding breaks for meals and recess, and a minimum of three hours for kindergarten.”
This requirement is still in effect. To average a 5 ½ hour school day, the weekly program hours must be 27.5. Adding a 30 minute lunch period totals 30 hours per week. Any school time over 30 hours per week is available for recess. The three elementary schools with full day Mondays in Fairfax County this year give students a total of 32 hours and 55 minutes per week. They have ample time for recess as well as the required instructional time. However, the other Fairfax County elementary schools give students only 30 hours and 50 minutes per week in school. Therefore, 50 minutes is available for recess during the five-day school week, or a total of 10 minutes per day.
This is ridiculous. The Fairfax County school board should provide more time in the week by ending the Monday early dismissal policy.
Tonight the School Health Advisory Committee will urge the school board to set a minimum time for recess in elementary schools. Let’s hope that the school board decides to take some action on this recommendation and decides on an amount of time that is greater than 10 minutes per day.