[8/30/19] Lunch Time Issue Reaches Superintendent

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Washington State’s Superintendent of Schools is speaking out following a new report that says schools across the state aren’t offering enough lunchtime. The State Auditor’s Office performed an audit on lunchtime scheduling and practices in K–12 schools and found most didn’t allow for the recommended minimum of 20 minutes of seated lunchtime and half of the schools didn’t have recess before the meal.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal said his office will initiate a rulemaking process to require schools to provide at least 20 minutes of seated lunch time for all students, as well as recess before lunch for students in elementary school. He said they are not aiming to make sweeping changes overnight and expect it will take several years to implement changes in some schools.

For schools not meeting the requirements, Reykdal said there are several logistical reasons – inadequate facilities, overcrowding, scheduling, and more. But, he added, sometimes difficult tasks are what produce the best outcomes. The report’s research shows when students have more time to eat and go to recess before lunch, they are more likely to make healthier choices in the lunch line.