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District Backpack and Recess Policies

The Savannah Chatham County School System just published their current policy on mesh/clear backpacks and recess time (unstructured breaks). Neither policy has changed for the new school year. Here is a statement from their Public Information Officer, Sheila Blanco:

As Savannah-Chatham County Public School students head back to class on Thursday, there are several points our families should keep in mind.

"First, there have been a few questions surrounding the clear/mesh backpack requirement. Safety for students and staff remains a top priority for the district and new safety initiatives and equipment are being added in our schools. Until all the safety equipment is in and fully operational and administrative training is completed, the requirement of clear and/or mesh backpacks still stands. Our school leaders will continue to administer random administrative inspections of bags and/or other materials as prescribed by Campus Police and Academic Affairs.

Second, questions have been posed about a proposed revision to Unstructured Break Time brought forth during the July meeting of the Board of Education. Principals have been reminded that the Unstructured Break Time policy has not changed. Schools are required to maintain evidence that unstructured break time is provided as the policy presently requires. The Wellness Committee will revisit the topic of Unstructured Break Time and documents submitted at the last board meeting in the near future.

Thank you for your support. We look forward to seeing our students back at school on Thursday!"

*This is how the current Unstructured Break Policy is written: In accordance with Georgia Code Section 20-2-323, each local school administrator, with input from school staff, shall determine the length (approximately 10 minutes), frequency, timing and location of unstructured, supervised breaks for students in grades Pre- K through 8. The procedures for unstructured break time will be communicated to students and parents through student handbooks or newsletters.The purpose of unstructured breaks is to provide opportunities for physical activity, inside or outside, which helps students stay alert and attentive in class and to provide time for social interaction among students.These unstructured breaks are in addition to physical education instruction, and shall not replace physical education instruction for any reason. The scheduling and location of the unstructured breaks shall not interrupt academic learning.Breaks may be withheld for disciplinary, academic, or safety reasons. Decisions to withhold break time shall be consistent with any schoolwide or individual discipline plan.Each school administrator shall establish local school practices that ensure break time is well supervised and safe. The administrator shall ensure that each student receives maximum instructional time to support increased student achievement, which can be complemented by appropriate break time to support academic learning.

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