Recess Could Soon Be Mandatory In County Schools

SNOW HILL – The question of whether or not recess will become mandatory in Worcester County schools is still up in the air.

At the Board of Education’s Dec. 7 Budget Public Input Session, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jon Andes introduced a proposed revision to a policy that would require all elementary level schools, grades pre-k through fifth, to have daily recess.

However, because several members of the board were absent and others wished for more time to review the proposal, the issue was tabled until the Dec. 21 meeting.

Board President Bob Hulburd told the audience that the matter was too significant to be decided without every member’s input.

“I think we all need to be here to make the decision,” he said.

Hulburd also stressed the fact the board was not acting in confrontation with Pocomoke Middle School, whose recess policy had sparked the debate.

While Andes’ proposal would contradict the current PMS system, which does not provide daily recess, Hulburd made it clear that whatever the board decided, it in no way reflected any negativity on the school.

“Everyone here should go away knowing that Pocomoke is a great school, with great leadership,” Hulburd said.

While the draft of the proposition is a significant step forward, some people in the audience were not satisfied with the tabling of the issue for another two weeks.

Parent Todd Palmer, who originally brought the matter to the board’s attention, had hoped for more action to be taken at the meeting.

“We’re upset with the delay,” he said, referring to the group of parents he represents. “We were under the impression that we’d have an answer tonight.”

Doug Voss, another concerned parent, shared some of Palmer’s feelings.

“We’re disappointed there was no decision,” Voss said. “We’re really looking for an unambiguous statement [from the board].”

One detail that bothered Palmer was the possibility that Andes’ proposition would just be a suggested guideline, instead of county policy.

“We want a policy,” he said. “A suggested guideline can be manipulated.”
However, Voss remarked that it did seem like the proposition would be going into policy.

Palmer expressed disappointment that not all board members had been in attendance at the meeting. He did, however, clarify that he was grateful to the board for making time to listen to complaints of the public.

Palmer and several other parents plan to be in attendance at the next meeting.