PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Forty-one more bills were signed into law by Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo between June 23 and June 28, including a state regulation mandating a minimum amount of recess for kids in schools.
The “recess bill” orders public or state-managed elementary or lower schools, grades K-6, to give kids “at least twenty (20) consecutive minutes of supervised, safe, and unstructured free play recess each day,” stating that play increases learning outcomes for students, and recognizing the right to recess.
- Special Report: What you need to know about regulating recess
Teachers may supervise, but recess should not be structured, the bill said. Furthermore, “Teachers shall make a good faith effort to not withhold recess for punitive reasons.” The free play “may be considered instructional time for those schools that would be required to extend the current school day in order to meet this requirement.”
Supporters argued recess and a break from structure are crucial to a child’s cognitive function. Opponents had said requiring it by law presents too many challenges; no provisions are included in the bill for inclement weather, or for penalties if the minimum is not enforced.
Other laws signed included:
- Regulation of powdered caffeine (which isn’t FDA regulated), prohibiting anyone from giving the substance to minors under 21
- Crafting rules on anaphylactic shock and using epinephrine in schools, removing penalties to children who don’t warn their school of their allergies, and allowing schools to stock epinephrine
- Creation of a domestic violence prevention fund to be administered by the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- Creation of a “clean diesel” fund to encourage the reduction of emissions from heavy-duty diesel engines