Florida House Revises Bill Requiring Recess Time For Elementary Students

A bill that would have required at least 20 minutes of recess time for elementary schools students in Florida was scaled back and modified by a House committee – in an effort one representative says to get it passed.

The PreK-12 subcommittee changed the bill to allow districts the option to allow the time to be part of the already required 150 minutes of physical education classes each week. The measure also applies the time requirements to students between kindergarten and third grade – as opposed to previous requirements that went up to fifth grade.

“The difficult part is the assumption that schools are not currently having recess. The majority of our schools do have recess, and they have it daily,” said Rep. Rene Plasencia (R-Orlando), the bill’s sponsor. “What we are advocating for are the schools that aren’t having recess daily, and those are peppered around the entire state.”

Currently, only 11 of Florida’s 67 counties require any amount of recess time for students.

The revised bill would require 20 minutes of recess time for fourth and fifth grade students only on days where they do not have a PE class. The Senate will have their version of the bill heard Wednesday, which continues to require the time for all elementary school students each day regardless of whether there is a scheduled PE class.

Both chambers must pass the same bill before it can be sent to Gov. Rick Scott.

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