Public schools; instructional time for elementary school. (HB1419)

Introduced By

Del. Karrie Delaney (D-Centreville) with support from co-patrons Del. Jeff Bourne (D-Richmond), and Sen. Jennifer Boysko (D-Herndon)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Public schools; instructional time. Requires local school boards to provide (i) a minimum of 680 hours of instructional time to students in elementary school, except for students in half-day kindergarten, in the four academic disciplines of English, mathematics, science, and history and social science and (ii) a minimum of 375 hours of instructional time to students in half-day kindergarten in the four academic disciplines of English, mathematics, science, and history and social science. The bill authorizes local school boards to include and requires the Board of Education to accept, for elementary school, unstructured recreational time that is intended to develop teamwork, social skills, and overall physical fitness in any calculation of total instructional time or teaching hours. This bill is identical to SB 273. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


01/15/2018Presented and ordered printed 18104770D
01/15/2018Referred to Committee on Education
01/19/2018Assigned Education sub: Subcommittee #2
02/02/2018Subcommittee recommends reporting with substitute (10-Y 0-N)
02/05/2018Impact statement from DPB (HB1419)
02/07/2018Reported from Education with substitute (21-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
02/07/2018Committee substitute printed 18106624D-H1
02/09/2018Impact statement from DPB (HB1419H1)
02/09/2018Read first time
02/12/2018Read second time
02/12/2018Committee substitute agreed to 18106624D-H1
02/12/2018Amendment by Delegate Davis agreed to
02/12/2018Engrossed by House - committee substitute with amendment HB1419EH1
02/12/2018Printed as engrossed 18106624D-EH1
02/13/2018Read third time and passed House (97-Y 3-N)
02/13/2018VOTE: PASSAGE (97-Y 3-N) (see vote tally)
02/14/2018Constitutional reading dispensed
02/14/2018Referred to Committee on Education and Health
02/15/2018Impact statement from DPB (HB1419EH1)
02/22/2018Reported from Education and Health with substitute (15-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/22/2018Committee substitute printed 18107571D-S1
02/23/2018Impact statement from DPB (HB1419S1)
02/23/2018Constitutional reading dispensed (38-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/26/2018Impact statement from DPB (HB1419S1)
02/26/2018Read third time
02/26/2018Reading of substitute waived
02/26/2018Committee substitute agreed to 18107571D-S1
02/26/2018Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute HB1419S1
02/26/2018Passed Senate with substitute (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/28/2018Placed on Calendar
02/28/2018Senate substitute rejected by House 18107571D-S1 (0-Y 98-N)
02/28/2018VOTE: REJECTED (0-Y 98-N) (see vote tally)
03/02/2018Senate insisted on substitute (38-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
03/02/2018Senate requested conference committee
03/05/2018House acceded to request
03/05/2018Conferees appointed by House
03/05/2018Delegates: Delaney, Davis, Yancey
03/06/2018Conferees appointed by Senate
03/06/2018Senators: Carrico, Suetterlein, Lewis
03/08/2018C Amended by conference committee
03/08/2018Conference report agreed to by House (95-Y 1-N)
03/08/2018VOTE: ADOPTION (95-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
03/09/2018Conference report agreed to by Senate (39-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
03/20/2018Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB1419ER)
03/20/2018Signed by Speaker
03/22/2018Impact statement from DPB (HB1419ER)
03/22/2018Signed by President
03/26/2018Enrolled Bill communicated to Governor on March 26, 2018
03/26/2018G Governor's Action Deadline Midnight, April 9, 2018
04/06/2018G Approved by Governor-Chapter 785 (effective 7/1/18)
04/06/2018G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0785)


This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 1 clip in all, totaling 1 minute.


Catherine Stewart writes:

Thank you Delegate Karrie Delaney for sponsoring this bill on behalf of More Recess for Virginians!

Cecilia Alvarez writes:

Dear Delegate Delaney, on behalf of More Recess for Virginians, we would like to thank you for your support to our cause.

Melissa Keenan writes:

Thank you Delegate Delaney for sponsoring this bill that is so important to the children in our state!

Stella Pekarsky writes:

Thank you Del.Delaney and co-sponsors for being willing to make RESEARCH-BASED educational policy changes!

Shellii Roach writes:

Thank you Delegate Delaney for sponsoring this important bill for our children! Someone has to speak up for the children as their brains need more frequent breaks to thrive academically.

Mary Rohmiller writes:

Thank you Delegate Delaney for introducing this bill! Recess isn’t just play - it’s important time for our kids’ brains to reset to be ready to learn and focus in the classroom. As a parent of two young ones, I’m happy to see recognition of this in Richmond!

Barbara Larrimore writes:

This bill would allow recess as instructional time which would allow for two breaks in the day instead of one. For the health and well being of children, an important bill.

Estelle Maletz writes:

Thank you Delegate Delaney for sponsoring this crucial bill for our children. Including recess in the definition of instructional hours and giving more flexibility to increase outdoor unstructured play time, would allow to finally recognize the importance of recess as a fundamental component of education.

Emily Dolan writes:

Thank you Delegate Delaney for sponsoring this bill. This is so important for the health of all children.

Mariel Ramirez-Holkon writes:

Delegate Delaney, THANK YOU!! Thank you for caring and for listening our children's needs. Thank you for being their voice!
More Recess is the unstructured play their bodies and brains crave. They will focus better in class and will be happy to attend school. Recess have shown in many studies that it provides several benefits, not only socially, physically, mentally and emotionally but on academics. More Recess would help the Whole Child succeed in a Healthy way. Thank you!

Kia Taylor writes:

This is a bill that we ALL can, and should, get behind! For those that don't know, Fairfax County Public schools get less than 30 minutes a day of recess. Young children need more time so that they can then go back to class and expand their minds! This is a win-win situation for everyone. Thank you Delgate Delaney for introducing this bill!

Robert L Walter writes:

This is a bill that we everyone should get behind!
Fairfax County Public schools get less than 30 minutes a day of recess.
Young children need more time so that they can return to class more focused and ready to learn!
This bill would only ALLOW schools and school systems the flexibility to change their schedules to include more recess, not mandate it. This is a win-win situation for everyone.
Thank you Karrie Delaney for introducing this bill!

Jaim L writes:

Thank you for sponsoring this bill. More time to move will absolutely help grades, behavior and overall health of our children.

Shamarli Kollock writes:

This is a bill that everyone should get behind!
Fairfax County Public schools get less than 30 minutes a day of recess. Of course, young children need more time so that they can return to class more focused and ready to learn!

Thank you Karrie Delaney for introducing this bill!

Bruce Wyman writes:

As a public school teacher for 12 years, I am in full support of this legislation. Students must have time to reset through physical activity. I've seen first hand how kids developmentally achieve higher scores when they are able to have a physical break from the often monotonous and heavily scheduled academic school days. There are countless studies that support this as well. Thanks, Delegate Delaney

Risa May writes:

This is an important bill and issue, thank you! Our children need more time for unstructured child-directed physical activities. This supports better educational outcomes, for so many reasons, and science backs this up. Hope it passes!

Jaime Thompson writes:

This is an excellent bill! The research is solid: unstructured playtime for children is a key benefit for their development into independent, problem solving, critically thinking adults. Thank you for introducing this bill!

Theresa writes:

Virginia kids need time to process what they are learning in the classroom and recess provides this opportunity. As adults we usually take multiple breaks during the work day but we expect young kids to only have on true break in an almost 7 hour schools day. Also research shows that recess teaches kids executive functioning, problem resolution and communication better than the classroom environment. Other benefits are physical activity and time to unwind. Please support this bill!!!

Rasha AlMahroos writes:

Thank you for fighting for our children’s health and well being!

Allison Bowersock, PhD writes:

Delegate Delaney, thank YOU for championing this cause critical to the wellbeing and learning potential of tomorrow's leaders. We now have ample scientific evidence that unstructured play is vital to long term ecological development. The next generation NEEDS this to pass, thank you for lending your political platform to this effort.

Caitlin Hutchison writes:

Thank you, Delegate Delaney, for being a an advocate for the needs of our youngest citizens - this is excellent legislation that can truly enact positive change!

Rebekah McDonald writes:

Very excited to see this bill and look forward to having it become law. Our kids need more opportunities to have breaks, exercise, and even just learn through unstructured play that isn't physical.

Katherine Pierret writes:

Really hope this bill passes. Studies have shown how important recess is for young minds.

Stephanie Katavolos writes:

Thank you, Delegate Delaney, for prioritizing our children by sponsoring this important and research-supported Bill. Educators know that more recess/unstructured time fosters social skills, promotes fitness and actually helps enhance academic performance.

Michelle writes:

Thank you for this bill! Unstructured recess time is important for mental, social and physical health. So many medical studies have shown the benefit of mental breaks. This will also help allow our teachers do their jobs instead of managing behavior. Thank you, Delegate Delaney, for giving our children a voice.

Patty Kealey writes:

This is such an important bill. I am surprised our schools only allow for 30 minutes of recess in a 7 hour day. By allowing more recess time will help children to focus more, fewer disciplinary problems, improve socials skill and physical exercise. Look forward to this passing!!

Faith Dickerson writes:

Thank you, Delegate Delaney, for introducing this important bill. I applaud the fact that the wording of your bill recognizes that recess time is a valuable part of our children's education. Unstructured play does not equal no educational value---just the opposite. There are many social thinking lessons to be learned on the playground and athletic field. With a growing population of children who lack physical fitness and social thinking strengths, recognizing that more school day time needs to be outside, or at least outside the classroom is timely and needed. I will be watching your bill with interest and contacting my elected officials as it moves forward.

Monica Tucker-Harley writes:

Our Kindergartners have a 20 minute recess that starts at 2:00pm. This is a lot to ask of 5-year-olds, to wait so long to get outdoor movement time. Though our school and teachers are absolutely great our educators are unable to give children any more recess time, even when they know it is of benefit, because of current instructional standards. In addition to promoting social, physical, and academic success, studies also indicate outdoor time helps reduce risk of nearsightedness. Thank you for sponsoring something so important for young bodies and minds!

Erika Yalowitz writes:

Thank you, Del. Delaney and co-sponsors for supporting a bill that will enhance our children’s educational experience according to their needs. This initiative is beneficial to children’s physical and, emotional and long term mental health, as well as social development. Kudos!

Melanie Meren writes:

This bill is so needed for our children in Virginia. Education has become too reliant on children being physically still and focused while learning - children need to learn through movement and social interaction! Children ARE learning during recess. Play is children's work - it is their learning. Furthermore, outdoor play - in natural environments - would really be the gold star level of recess.

This bill needs both components as introduced - defining recess as instructional time, and adjusting the percentages of required core academic time. To expand on this:

Increasing recess aims to give children the benefit of having greater attention spans when it's time to focus on core subjects. The time spent on core subjects is as a result of higher quality. So while actual core instructional time in minutes may decrease, there is an expected decrease in discipline and behavior issues that take up time during core instructional time - allowing the teacher to teach better, and the student to learn better, in less time. Without this adjustment to the hours, just saying that "recess qualifies as instructional time" (because students are in fact learning during recess), doesn't allow for room to actually increase recess time. Both parts of the bill were approved by the FCPS School Board - the whole bill, not a sliced up bill.

Thank you to bill co-sponsors Delegate Karrie Delaney and Senator Chap Petersen! This bill will make a difference in the lives of children and the families who love them and want them to be healthy and learning during the school day.

Pavel writes:

It’s time that policy makers realize what countries around the world have already known for years: expecting kids to sit all day is developmentally inappropriate and does them a grave disservice. Kids that have time to play and rest their brains achieve higher academically- just compare our recess times to countries with the highest achieving students.

A writes:

Kids deserve to have adequate time to play. It’s cruel to expect them to sit for close to 7 hours a day and then constantly punish their fidgety behavior and innattention when they cannot do it. Brain research proves to us that kids can’t learn without lots of recess!

Katie writes:

Yes please!! All research points to more play helping students learn, grow, and thrive! Please pass this bill!

Suzanne Hurley writes:

Thank you Delegate Delaney for being an advocate for our children:s health. More time to be physically active outdoors is desperately needed. Let's also strive to ensure that the air quality near schools is good for them to be outdoors. Many bills introduced just this year need our support to do that. Ivy Main of the VA chapter of the Sierra Club has a list of these. Thanks again. You're off to a great start!

Nicole Hilliard writes:

This is an important bill! It will enable the schools in Fairfax County to give our kids the recess they need. Recess is a necessary break, it is crucial to the kids' mental and physical health, and research has shown that it actually increases educational performance! We are doing them a disservice by requiring them to sit and focus for overly long periods of time. Thank you so much for sponsoring this bill.

Stefanie K writes:

I strongly support this bill. More brain breaks and unstructured playtime are important to our children’s development and ability to focus. Many thanks to Delegate Delaney and Senator Peterson for co-sponsoring it.

Stephanie Craddock writes:

Thank you Delegate Delaney, for sponsoring this bill! As the mother of two young boys, this topic is very important to my family.

Wynne Kelch writes:

Thank you for introducing this important bill! Let's get in line with research on supporting kids' development.

Sharon Clingan writes:

I fully support this bill but would take it a step further and extend it to middle school. We came from Germany where the middle schoolers also had “recess” after lunch~20 minutes. It made a critical difference to my daughter’s focus. My son has no such outlet here.

J Lopez writes:

We all revere the rigor and success of Japanese schooling, but did you know that Japanese students have recess for 10-15 minutes EVERY HOUR? Recess is not just a right, it’s the right way to maximize learning and the right thing to do.

Stacy Mills writes:

Thank you for your work on this! Our children need more recess! Just as we need a break from the pressures of life so do they.

Alisha Fernandez writes:

Thank you! This is exactly what our school district and children need. Our family will be estactic to have more time to learn and experience their childhood through play.

Kenya Zambrano writes:

Our children need more recess and are excited to see we are one step closer! My son always says he wishes he had more time to play. Thank you for the support!

Claudia Saidon writes:

This is exactly what our kids need! It will help them to learn more and feel happier at school with a reasonable recess time. Thank you!!

Sandra Rojo writes:

Thank you Delegate Delaney for sponsoring this important bill for our children. Play its extremely important as it allows children to use their creativity while at the same time helps with developing their imagination. Physical activity while playing it’s as important. Thank you again!

Margaret McLaughlin writes:

Recess, movement, unstructured time and the flexibility of an empowered teacher to use them are so important in every educational setting. "Play" is where all that new information gets processes and filed for later use. It improves focus, concentration and decreases classroom disruptions (the need for dicipline). Outside time also reduces the need for glasses- who knew! Yay for more recess in Virginia!

Juliet Hiznay writes:

This bill is a good one. Studies show that increased movement supports academic achievement. Far from taking away instructional time, it actually produces better academic results as well as greater time to learn "soft skills." Soft skills are a better predictor of success in the workplace than grades.