A proposal to mandate daily recess for young students in public schools is back in the Georgia General Assembly.
House Bill 273 by Rep. Demetrius Douglas, D-Stockbridge, passed the Georgia House of Representatives last year but stalled in the Senate. It’s back again during this legislative session and, on Monday, the Senate Education and Youth Committee voted it out of committee, which means it could get a vote on the Senate floor.
The bill does not guarantee recess despite the use of the word “shall.” Rather, it requires that schools schedule it daily in kindergarten through fifth grade except on days when students already have physical education or other “structured activity time” or when the weather is bad and there’s no indoor space for play. And it only says a school “is encouraged” to schedule an average of 30 minutes a day.
Though the bill requires school boards to schedule recess, it also clarifies that the legislation “shall not be construed to be a statute relating to the protection of the physical health and safety” of students and everyone else at a school. Therefore, 178 of Georgia’s 180 school districts that have signed “flexibility” contracts with the state can get a waiver from the mandate. Only the school systems for the city of Buford and for Webster County would have to schedule recess.
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