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Middle schoolers at recess? A new reality that's expected to begin at Fairfax County Schools

A session just for play could be included in the days of 12 to 14-year-olds. It'll be required - not even bad behavior would be a reason to slash it from schedules.

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Fairfax County middle schoolers could soon join their elementary school counterparts, sitting in class and daydreaming about recess.

The FCPS school board wants to bring the childhood favorite up to the older grades in an effort to inspire more outdoor, physical activity and better mental health. The board expressed its intent to approve the new measure in April. 

The policy would go into effect next school year if it's voted through next month. 

The proposal states that as an institution, FCPS has a direct impact on a student's health since they are on campus for more than six hours daily. It also highlights a "proven" correlation between health and wellness and academic success.

The proposed supervised recesses would be provided to all middle school students daily, for a minimum total of 15 minutes.

The proposal also specifies that no part of recess should ever be withheld by staff as a means to manage behavior, or overtaken to lead instruction instead. 

"Mental health professionals have expressed the benefits of a daily break for all, and most importantly for students who enter our buildings at 7:30 a.m. and don’t see a ray of sunshine until dismissal,” the school board’s Mason District representative Ricardy Anderson said in the Thursday meeting.    

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