Yesterday I received a confirmation from the Virginia Department of Education that “School divisions are expected to comply with the Board of Education’s regulations. The regulation that you cite may be found in 8 VAC 20-131-150 of the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia (Standards of Accreditation): http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+reg+8VAC20-131-150 “
Here is the text from the previous link:
8VAC20-131-150. Standard school year and school day.
A. The standard school year shall be 180 instructional days. The standard school day for students in grades 1 through 12 shall average at least 5-1/2 instructional hours, excluding breaks for meals and recess, and a minimum of three hours for kindergarten.
B. All students in grades 1 through 12 shall maintain a full day schedule of classes (5-1/2 hours), unless a waiver is granted in accordance with policies defined by the local school board.
Derived from Virginia Register Volume 14, Issue 1, eff. October 29, 1997; amended, Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 25, eff. September 28, 2000; Volume 22, Issue 24, eff. September 7, 2006.
I received this confirmation from Anne Wescott, Assistant Superintendent for Policy and Communications, Virginia Department of Education.
This should be a wake-up call to the Fairfax County School Board. Most elementary schools do not meet the requirement for the standard school day. The total overall time the elementary school students have in school averages 6 hours and 10 minutes per day. One half hour of this time is devoted to lunch. Therefore 10 minutes per day is available for recess. However, most schools allow students to have more than 10 minutes per day for recess, therefore these students have less than 5 ½ hours in the standard school day. Fairfax can easily correct this deficiency by ending Monday early dismissals.