Bedford junior high students fight to have ‘fresh air breaks’ reinstated – Halifax | #students | #parents

Students at a junior high school in Bedford spent their week advocating to have their ‘fresh air breaks’ reinstated.

“It did start with the 60 minutes in place and then they changed it drastically without telling us, or our parents at all, they just made that decision and they really didn’t think about how it would affect us, and our mental health, and our physical health,” Madison Cumine said,  a Rocky Lake Junior High School student.

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Cumine says the breaks were significantly shortened without any heads up given to students, or parents.

The move sparked Lucy Chant, a grade 9 student, to create an online petition – calling for the full length of the outdoor breaks to be reinstated.

Both students say the overall goal was to reduce the hardships students experienced due to being restricted to their desks for most of the day.

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“I’ve heard so many of my classmates complain about back problems, things about sitting too much. I’ve heard them talk about how it’s causing them anxiety and how it’s just really upsetting,” Cumine said.

More than 700 people supported the petition, including parents who felt the move was a detriment to the health of the students.

“I really think this is a bad move. Parents should have been involved in this decision. Outdoor breaks are about our children’s mental health,” Nichola Fish-Cumine wrote.

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After hearing of concerns, the Halifax Regional Centre for Education [HRCE] responded with an email statement.

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The statement indicates the changes to break times were made to accommodate for increased enrollment and preparation for colder weather.

“After monitoring this new routine, Rocky Lake Junior High has readjusted the break schedule to ensure the outdoor break times remain at 30 minutes,” Kelly Connors wrote in the email, a communications officer with HRCE.

Connors says a letter went home with students Friday afternoon to clarify the changes and ensure parents that outdoor break times would return to 30 minutes, twice a day.

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