Jul 29, 2014
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Fairfax Elementary Schools to Scrap 'Half-Mondays' by September

Fairfax County Public Schools voted 10-1 Thursday to end a decades-old policy mandating elementary school students to be dismissed at 12:30 p.m. on Mondays.

Fairfax Elementary Schools to Scrap 'Half-Mondays' by September
The Fairfax County school board voted Thursday to eliminate half-day Mondays for elementary schools, a policy that has been in place since the 1970s. The decision will add 13 days to the school year in an effort to give schools more flexibility in adjusting calendars for seasonal weather and provide children more recess time.

The board approved the measure 10-1 Thursday as part of a larger calendar overhaul. Students currently attend school until 12:30 on Mondays, which allows teachers to use the remaining time for lesson planning and training.

Which is more important: recess or teacher planning time? Tell us in the comments!

Fairfax County Public Schools plans to add funding to its "teacher position reserve" to ensure schools can afford their teachers working extra hours, WTOP reports. School board member Janie Strauss anticipates the move will cost about $7.5 million. 

A petition on Change.org to " Stop Monday Early Dismissals and Provide More Recess Time" notes that Fairfax County is one of two counties with the shortest elementary school week in the Washington metropolitan area. The petition says parents of elementary school students are dealt an economic burden by having to arrange childcare around specific days of the week. 

The Virginia Standards of Accreditation state the standard school day should last 5.5 hours, excluding breaks for meals and recess. FCPS elementary school students currently have only 10 minutes dedicated to recess, but will now be allowed at least 20 minutes beginning in September.

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