MIDDLETOWN, CT (WFSB) - Parents are protesting the Middletown school district's recess policy.

As part of their COVID protocols, Middletown elementary schools have two ten minute recess breaks, but parents want it to go back to the twenty-five minute breaks they had prepandemic.

The school district says the two recess system is part of their COVID protocol, but parents say it’s not what’s best for their children.

“We just feel really frustrated, because we’re not being heard," Amy Webster tells us.

Amy says it’s time for the school district to go back to twenty-five minute recess breaks, but when Amy and other parents went to the board of education to discuss the issue, she says she feels as though they weren’t listening.

“We first learned early on before school started that recess was eliminated and replaced with two mask breaks. Once we started making some noise about it, they turned around and said, 'Oh it’s recess just broken into two ten minute blocks'," Webster explained.

“The teachers are manipulating kids to think mask breaks are recess. That’s not recess. Recess is playing and having fun," Middletown student Adonis Webster said.

School officials say the two ten minute blocks were put in place for three reasons.

“We’re keeping our kids cohorted so that should we need to do contact tracing, we can in an easy, quick, effective manor and number two is we are trying to ensure equal access to the playscape and recess equipment," Middletown Public Schools spokesperson Jessie Lavorgna stated.

The third reason is because they’re trying to keep the same recess protocols across all Middletown schools.

“It’s a COVID protocol. It’s COVID mitigation strategy. We don’t want our school to be spreader zones," noted Lavorgna.

“I think if they’re trying to create equality throughout their schools by creating this two minute mask break, then why are they giving teachers the discretion to have mask breaks on their own?" Amy Webster asked.

Parents also created a petition online and so far, they have 2,000 signatures.

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