SALT LAKE CITY – Members of the Utah State Board of Education proposed changes to how Utah students spend their school day, hoping to count the time they spend at recess as classroom instruction time.
The change, which was approved in committee Friday and will go before the full board on Jan. 8, 2020, would also count time students spend at school eating breakfast.
If approved, changes could go into effect as early as spring 2020.
Officials also said changes wouldn’t affect the length of the school day but would give schools the chance to implement a more structured recess time.
For example, adults on the playground would lead specific activities with rules of play in addition to free play. It’s something board members said is critical for developing minds.
“It does become part of the whole child becoming educated and for the child to be to succeed at school both academically and in a social, emotional component in kids going out engaging with one another,” said board member Jennie Earl.
Earl said the proposed plan wouldn’t mean more adults on the playground at a cost to the taxpayers.
School board members said they hope it would provide a way for the children to be more physically active if they’re shown specific activities and how to do them.
They also hoped it would help with bullying on the playground.
If recess time becomes defined as education hours, Earl said she hopes that means teachers would no longer be able to withhold recess as a punishment for students.