Fairfax considers alternative ways to provide sufficient time in school

Kate Yanchulis reports on  future options for snow days in Fairfax County. “This year, the school system has added two days to the end of the year to help make up for the large number of closings, pushing the last day of school from Friday, June 20, to Tuesday, June 24. Extending the length of the school day and building more cushioning into the calendar from the start were both offered as ideas to consider.”

This report avoids mentioning the gaping hole in the current Fairfax County schedule for the elementary schools. Dismissing all elementary school students either 2 ½ or 2 hours early every Monday is shortchanging the students from having the number of hours in schools supposedly guaranteed by the Standards of Accreditation.  Since September 2007, Fairfax County Public Schools has had a policy limiting recess to a maximum of 10 minutes per day. This is absurdly restrictive. The time for recess should be expanded. It is true that most, if not all, Fairfax schools do allow more than 10 minutes per day for recess. However, that means that the schools are not providing the number of instructional hours required in the Standards of Accreditation.

Extending the length of Mondays in the elementary schools is not merely an idea to consider–it is something that must be done. Period. The Fairfax County School Board must stop Monday early dismissals and provide more recess time.

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