Frederick County Board of Education members develop draft policy to allow more recess time

FCPS officials say more recess time can help students focus more in class

FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. - In Maryland, the Frederick County Board of Education is in the beginning stages of exploring a policy that can possibly expand recess time for students.

“I got some support from other members of the Board, and I developed the first draft of a Policy to increase recess times at all three levels; elementary, middle, and high,” said Frederick County Board of Education Member, Liz Barrett.

“There are a lot of scientific studies that show the importance of physical activity, the importance of physical activity during the school day to help students focus,” said Frederick County Public Schools Director of Communications, Michael Doerrer.

The question however is how do they meet student physical activity needs, and still meet their academic needs within the school year?

“When I look at the research and data, it’s pretty clear that increasing opportunities for movement for all of our kids, as well as kind of un-structured play opportunities for outside socialization, fresh air, there’s a lot research that shows this not only improves student wellness and health, but directly impacts student achievement,” said Barrett.

The drafted policy also suggests that students would not be denied recess time as a form of punishment. Frederick County Board of Education member, Liz Barrett, gives an example of why more time is possibly needed.

“Right now elementary schoolers it varies; 20 or 30 minutes, some elementary schools have two 15-minute breaks. And one of the things I pointed out with elementary schoolers, sometimes if it’s cold outside for example, by the time all the kids line up and get their clothes on, if you’re moving 26 kids outside you’ve lost recess time,” added Barrett.

Officials say this drafted policy is the early stage of the entire process.

“We’ll see where this goes, our policy committee discussed the draft once, and folks made some suggestions,” Barrett added.

Once the policy committee is done with the draft, it will be forwarded to the full board members. The board will then read the draft, and that will lead to public comment.

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