Originally published June 7, 2018 in the Fredericksburg Freelance-Star.
GOV. Ralph Northam recently signed a bill passed by the General Assembly that requires the state Department of Education to accept “unstructured recreational time that is intended to develop teamwork, social skills and overall physical fitness”—in other words, recess—when it calculates the required instructional time for elementary school students. The new law goes into effect on July 1.
Local school boards can now set aside up to 15 percent of total instructional time for recess, which comes out to a maximum of about 50 minutes per day. However, they must still provide a minimum of 680 hours of teaching time per academic year in English, mathematics, science, history and social science for K-5 students, and a minimum of 375 hours of instructional time for students in half-day kindergarten.