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West Orange Times & Observer Thursday, Sep. 8, 2016 5 years ago

OCPS revises policy to add daily recess

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OCPS has revised a policy to include daily recess. The policy is up for a vote in December.
by: Gabby Baquero News Editor

Students from kindergarten to 5th grade might soon be getting 20 minutes of daily recess.

The Orange County Public Schools board revised the IHAM Local School Wellness Policy to include an addendum authorizing daily recess during a meeting held Thursday, Sept. 8.

The IHAM policy, which originally made no mention of recess, was modified to adopt language making daily recess the norm, rather than the occasional exception. The full recess addendum reads as follows.

“Each school shall provide at least 100 minutes of supervised, safe, and unstructured free-play recess each week for students in kindergarten through grade 5 so that there are at least 20 consecutive minutes of free-play recess per day, except, in limited circumstances, when in the professional judgment of the teacher, it is not possible. Scheduling shall be at the discretion of the teacher.”

The policy was deliberately worded to preserve flexibility for OCPS teachers, however, the clause “in limited circumstances” was added during the meeting as an extra precaution to ensure teachers should only cancel recess during reasonable circumstances, such as weather or in the event of a field trip.

The clause was suggested after comments were expressed from the public regarding the policy’s wording.

“Recess should be the rule, not the exception,” said Orange County resident Angela Browning during public comment. “… We don’t want recess disappearing in the weeks leading up to the FSA because someone deems it not possible to take a break from cramming for the test. Because our children are children every day, even as they prepare for the FSA.”

If approved in December, the 100 minutes of recess per week would be in addition to the 150 minutes of physical activity per week mandated by Florida statutes. Physical education class is not considered as a substitute for recess time because it involves a curriculum.

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Contact Gabby Baquero at [email protected]

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