Georgia House approves mandatory school recess

The Georgia House of Representatives approved a bill Friday evening that mandates recess in elementary schools.

House Bill 273 requires an average of 30 minutes per day of recess in kindergarten through fifth grade, except on days when physical education or other “structured activity” is scheduled. The bill says the recess must be “unstructured” and preferably outdoors.

Children and one expert lobbied lawmakers last month to approve the bill, saying it is counterproductive to focus on academics all day without a break to play. Critics of the measure say schools are already squeezed for time to meet existing mandates to reach milestones on schedule for learning reading, writing and math.

HB 273, by Rep. Demetrius Douglas, D-Stockbridge, appeared to be bottled up in committee until Friday, when the House Rules committee put it on the calendar for a floor vote later in the day. It passed 147-17.

It now must get through the Senate to become law.

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