RICHMOND, Va. (WSET) — Virginia public school students may soon be getting more time for recess.
The legislation, HB1419, will allow recess to be counted as instruction time by local school boards and the state.
The bill goes into detail how local school boards require to:
provide (i) a minimum of 680 hours of instructional time to students in elementary, except for students in half-day kindergarten, in the four academic disciplines of English, mathematics, science, and history and social science and (ii) a minimum of 375 hours of instructional time to students in half-day kindergarten in the four academic disciplines of English, mathematics, science, and history and social science.
School boards must currently set a certain amount of classroom time each year, and time at recess doesn’t count.
The legislation is on track to passing both the House and the Senate.
Virginia Senator J. Chapman Petersen, D-Fairfax, and Delegate Karrie K. Delaney, D-Fairfax and Loudoun Counties, each sponsored bills.
When this bill was first proposed,school system administrators did not want to promote this bill due for fear that it would take away from children's instructional hours in music and art, according to the Office of Delegate Delaney.
The bill was later modified to 20 more minutes a day to students for recess by decreasing the amount of time from the four core subjects - math, English, social studies, and science.
75% of instructional time has to be dedicated to those four core areas and, from that, its going to be reduced by 5%. Within those 20 minutes a day, schools can decide what to do.
There is flexibility, which can be used for any type of extracurricular - including recess.
The proposals do not mandate that school systems add additional recess, but eliminate barriers that might prevent them from expanding time allotted for unstructured playtime.
Senator Petersen’s bill passed out of the House Education Subcommittee with a substitute, which conform the bill language to Delegate Delaney’s.
Her bill has passed out of the Senate Committee on Education and Health with a substitute to confirm her bill to his, according to the Office of Del. Delaney.
Del. Delaney expressed the importance of this bill and why she believes it's to the benefit of the children in the state,
As a mom of two young, active children I know firsthand how much kids crave outlets for their energy and how much more focused they are when they have the opportunity for unstructured physical activity. This makes HB1419 personal to me and many of my constituents. I am honored to be able to use my position as a Legislator to champion legislation which will directly impact the well-being and academic success of our children.
It is expected that these bills will go to conference where the bills are conformed into one.