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New recess policy could be coming to Chatham County schools

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(WTGS)

Imagine school with no recess. Parents and students in Chatham County are hoping they don't have to.

At Wednesday's school board meeting, parents were not playing around about their children's free time.

“They’re trying to confuse us with regulation and policy and our kids are still losing," Linda Wilder Bryan, a parent.

The Savannah Chatham County School Board is considering giving schools the power to hold recess at their own discretion.

Some board members are fully on board with the idea.

“We think it is a step in the right direction and provides greater opportunities for unstructured break time and better opportunities for our children," said Julie Wade, District 1 School Board Member.

While others are siding with the parents.

“It says the board encourages the scheduling of unstructured break time," said Jolene Byrne, School Board president. "Now if I encourage my kid to go clean their room, we all know how quickly that’s going to happen, if it happens at all.”

The policy would encourage teachers and principals to allow their students a 30 minute recess each day. Encouraged, but not required.

“We need to hear 'must' and 'adhere' and not encourage," said Wilder-Bryan.

The threat of their recess being taken away is difficult for students who are used to plenty of free time.

“I come from a school in Missouri where we get two 30-minute recesses," said Theron Gideon, a Bloomingdale Elementary School student.

Now they're scared they won't get any at all.

“Now at school if one person messes up we could possibly get five minutes or possibly none," said Gideon.

And that potentially takes away a part of the day that gives them time to breathe.

“It gives us time to socialize and speak to our peers without having to worry about school or what’s going on in the classroom," said Gideon.

Which is why parents plan to continue to push for an enforced 30 minutes.

“We just want to help our children. It doesn’t matter what color, grade, age they are. It just matters that a child needs recess," said Wilder-Bryan.

The issue will be revisited by the school board on at their next meeting on Aug. 1.