Prince William elementary students are getting more time to play next school year.
Gov. Ralph Northam has signed a bill that allows Virginia school boards to set aside instructional time for recess.
Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) currently sets aside 15 minutes for recess each day.
Next year, the time allotted for recess will increase to 30 minutes, with students receiving a 20-minute break and an additional 10 minutes for recreational activities.
“Every single kid in Prince William County will get 30, but it just depends if they’ll get 20 outside and 10 inside, or 20 outside and then 10 outside,” said Barbara Larrimore, who is also known as “Recess Mom.”
Larrimore began advocating for more time for recess and physical education (PE) about a year and a half ago.
Last January she hosted a “pep rally” at a Prince William School Board meeting.
Larrimore created a “More Recess in PWC” Facebook page and had a Town Hall meeting in Lake Ridge, as well.
She has also worked with parents, organizations and the school system to provide students with more time for physical activities.
By working with PWCS, Larrimore became well-versed on the how the school day is structured and the challenges schools face when scheduling various subjects, lunch and breaks.
She also learned how each locality differs.
“Even though we’re working with all these other school districts and parents’ concerns, we really had to focus on Prince William and what we could do here … at the same time, and how this law would ultimately give all of us the flexibility to be able to make changes where we were,” Larrimore said.
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