We Can Make Recess Better At Hayfield


Highschool students during recess

Sabela Seiter and

In April of last year, the Fairfax County School Board voted to require recess in all middle schools for the first time. The board updated their health and wellness policy to say that “recess will be provided to all middle school students daily, for a minimum total of 15 minutes in length.” The policy further states that recess “is required on full school days and should provide for student-selected structured and unstructured play through a variety of activities.” Because Hayfield is a secondary school, we must also follow this policy. 


However, here at Hayfield, our administration’s way of integrating a break into our day may not follow the recess policy properly. Recess is supposed to be 15 minutes long under the policy. However, the bell for recess to start rings at 9:25,and the bell for the end of recess rings at 9:35, also signaling the start of the transition from first to second period to 3rd, 4th, or 13th period.This makes recess 10 minutes long instead of 15 minutes, which defeats the purpose of the policy. 

This could easily be changed by allowing recess to end 5 minutes later, at 9:40, and by changing the start of 3rd, 4th or 13th period to 9:45. This would allow middle schoolers to get more outdoor recess, and high schoolers to get more of an indoor brain break.