The State Council on Elementary and Secondary Education is scheduled to vote Wednesday on new rules for the length of the school day and the school year. The regulations are supposed to clarify some language around snow days, after multiple storms last winter.
A group of parents and other advocates seized on the rule change as an opportunity to push for minimum requirements for recess in elementary schools.
Many parents complain recess has become too short in some schools, as educators focus increasingly on student achievement and test scores. Advocates said the amount of time allotted to recess can vary between schools and districts.
More than 730 people signed a petition urging state officials to set a minimum number of minutes for recess in the new regulations. But the Rhode Island Department of Education recommended against the change, citing provisions already in state law that require "daily recess opportunities" for students in Kindergarten through 5th grade.
The proposed rules require a minimum 6 hour school day. Of that, five and a half hours must be used for class or other instructional time, excluding lunch, recess, teacher planning time and, in the case of secondary schools, study halls, homeroom and passing periods.