Is Recess Necessary?


Colleen Johnson

Students at JC Booth benefit from recess after lunch.

Elijah Bowen, and Hayoung K.

This year, there has been a lingering question about whether it is safe for students to continue to have recess. With Coronavirus cases on the rise, students must be monitored closely, especially in large groups, causing many problems for teachers, administrators, students, and even parents. More so now that the new covid guidelines and variants are out, this may suspend recess for J.C Booth Middle School.

8th-grade science teacher Mr. Edinger says, “As a teacher, I’ve been doing this for 37 years, we’re in an environment the likes of which I’ve never seen… we’re going to go outside for ten minutes… get some sunshine, and take off these masks.” It is healthy for students to have breaks to help them “blow off some steam” and regroup after a lot of work. In this new normal, where masks are a requirement in the classroom, recess is a much-needed respite from the confinements of masks.

“Students should still get recess because they get breaths of fresh air, which helps build the immune system and help the body stay overall healthier than just staying inside all day,” 8th grader Gabriel Brooker said. According to the American Association of Pediatrics in a policy statement in 2013, middle schoolers should have unstructured play during their day to help them to develop social skills and build imagination. Physical activity should still be an important part of the day. According to, an abundant amount of studies, such as the ones carried out nationally in South Korea and Australia, have proven accurate to the theory that time given to perform physical activities can lead to enhanced academic performance. Students’ necessity for a break is not just a statement that educators should take lightly, because it benefits the body by going outside. Even without COVID in the picture, obesity has been one of the leading causes of health concerns among students of all ages. In most primary and elementary schools, children, more often than not, are required to participate in physical education (P.E.) while having time to socialize and get their daily personal activity during recess. However, students in upper-grade levels can choose to opt out of recess if they prefer. Only the students in the P.E. classes are offered the chance to participate. Many, especially students, are supportive of the decision of having recess, yet others disagree.

The principal who brought us recess, Ted Lombard, says, “That’s one of my leadership styles; ‘Don’t say no. Let’s try something and see if it works out. Growth is important, and trying out new ideas for students is always better than nothing at all.” Rather than saying no, Ted Lombard made countless efforts and was able to bring recess to JC Booth Middle School. This year, students may have to take a step back.