[Second Reprint]

SENATE, No. 1594






Sponsored by:


District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)






†††† Requires a public school district to provide a daily recess period for students in grades kindergarten through 5.



†††† As reported by the Assembly Education Committee on November 16, 2015, with amendments.


An Act concerning recess in public elementary schools and supplementing chapter 35 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.


†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:


†††† 1.††† The Legislature finds and declares that:

†††† a.†††† Currently 16% of the nationís children are overweight, and an increasing number of children are developing cardiovascular risk factors and type 2 diabetes;

†††† b.††† The United States Department of Health and Human Services, the United States Department of Education, and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education recommend that school-aged children should participate in at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity;

†††† c.†††† Participation in a regularly scheduled recess period provides an opportunity for children to engage in essential physical activity and to establish healthy habits early in life;

†††† d.††† Recess also affords a child the opportunity to practice skills such as cooperation, communication, and creativity, and a break from the dayís routine improves attention, focus, behavior, and learning in the classroom; and

†††† e.†††† Because recess is such a vital component of a comprehensive school physical activity program and the total educational experience for elementary school students, it is therefore in the best interest of the elementary students in this State that they be provided with a daily recess period.


††††† 2.†† Beginning with the 1[2014-2015] 2[2015-20161] first full2 school year 2following the effective date of this act2, a public school district shall provide a daily recess period of at least 20 minutes for students in grades kindergarten through 5. The recess period shall be held outdoors, if feasible.† 2A student shall not be denied recess for any reason, except as a consequence of a harassment, intimidation, or bullying investigation pursuant to P.L.2002, c.83 (C.18A:37-13 et seq.).† A student may not be denied recess more than twice per week.

††††† Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit school staff from denying recess for a student on the advice of a medical professional, school nurse, or based on the provisions of a studentís504 plan.

††††† A school district shall not be required to provide a recess period on a school day in which the day is substantially shortened due to a delayed opening or early dismissal.2

††††† The recess period shall not be used to meet the course requirements set forth in N.J.S.18A:35-5.


†††† 3.††† This act shall take effect immediately.