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Leon County School Board to Vote on Policy Requiring Recess in Schools

Posted at 6:05 PM, Mar 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-29 05:51:28-04

LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) - Tuesday, the Leon County School Board will vote on a policy requiring schools to provide at least 20 minutes of recess every day for students.

Currently, recess is recommended at schools, but not a mandatory part of the daily schedule. The new policy would require a recess period for students in kindergarten to fifth grade.

It's part of a comprehensive initiative on wellness, and it seems like something that should already be on the books.

But one board member told me there are only a handful of districts in the state that actually have a policy like this.

The policy states schools "shall provide at least 100 minutes of supervised, safe and unstructured free-play recess each week."

School board member Roseanne Wood is in favor of the policy.

She said numerous studies have shown the positive impacts of recess on academic performance and social skills.

"We think this is really important for their cognitive skills, for their emotional skills. At recess, kids learn how to negotiate and share and bargain and do all those kinds of things we actually want our children to know how to do," said Wood. "They need to do it, and learn how to do it themselves and not always be under the structure of adults. We need to provide them a safe place to that, and that's what recess is."

The superintendent would create a "wellness committee" that includes parents, students, and other members of the community to work with the district to implement and evaluate the policy.

The board will vote on the policy at its meeting Tuesday at 6 p.m.