Virginia Sets Minimum Exercise Time for Elementary Children

Mar 24, 2016

A new Virginia General Assembly measure mandates elementary schoolers get out from the behind the desk, and move.

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Students at William Fox Elementary School in Richmond get 30 minutes of recess each day. That  time is mandated by the Richmond Public School system, and what’s required across the state may vary between districts.

But soon, Virginia will require an absolute minimum for elementary schoolers -- 100 minutes a week, that’s an average of 20 minutes a day, of physical activity.

The law is meant to promote physical health, but Daniela Jacobs the principal here, says getting outside and running around is also an important part of learning. “Children cannot sit and learn all day long without active physical breaks, and learn! A lot of research does support the fact that after about an hour, and hour and a half, of instruction you need to get your children up and moving,” says Jacobs.

The new law doesn’t include any reporting mechanism, so it’s on schools, school boards, and teachers to make sure students are getting in that play time.