Virginia Beach schools send survey to parents about changing recess


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Schools in Virginia Beach are asking for parents’ opinions about recess times through a survey, but some worry it might end up in many parents’ trash.

That’s because the survey is coming from an employee of the school district — Robert Veigel — whose name parents might not recognize.

“I think it could potentially have a low turnout if people are not aware that its coming from the city,” Tracey Olson told 10 On Your Side.

Olson is on a committee of parents, teachers and principals recently tasked to look into recess. They will use the survey results to help make reccomendations to the school board.

This comes after a new law signed by Governor Ralph Northam in July that allows schools up to 50  minutes of recess each day.  Virginia Beach students currently get about  20 minutes a day, and it usually comes just before or just after PE class.

“The city already goes above and beyond what the state requires for core instruction times, so we have the leeway to have more recess.” Olson said.

Olson obviously wants more recess, but she tells 10 On Your Side that she and the committee want to hear from all parents in order to make informed recommendations.

The survey has 10 questions she said, one in particular asks about instructional time and where you believe the recess should come from. It asks about structured versus unsructured play, playground equipment and leaves a space for comments. 

“Don’t hesitate to give three or four sentences about what your child says, what you think should happen, if they use the playground equipment, if they don’t, what you want to see,” Olson said.

The school district sent this “Alert Now” to all elementary school parents Friday afternoon to try and bring attention to the survey:

Good afternoon-

Over the past two days, a survey was sent to parents and guardians of students in kindergarten through fifth-grade,seeking input on the structure of recess in Virginia Beach City Public Schools.

Currently all students participate in recess for 20 minutes in addition to 30 minutes of physical education (P.E.)each day. While how that time is scheduled may vary by school, most elementary schools hold recess immediately prior to or immediately following students’ health and P.E. classes.

Your response to this survey will help VBCPS consider the current recess structure and possibilities for an alternative.

The email you received from Robert Veigel (specialist with the VBCPS department of planning, innovation and accountability)has a unique link to access the survey, which will be available through March 24.

If you are a VBCPS parent/guardian of a K-5 student and did not receive the survey link, please call 757-263-1199.

Thank you for your participation.

The committee will discuss the results and present a plan to the school board in the coming months. They say the decision will likely be made in June and be put in place for the next school year.

A school district spokesperson tells 10 On Your Side they’ve received 2,400 responses since the survey started going out Thursday. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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