District of Columbia parents discovered recess was to be cut to 15 minutes daily for the upcoming school year.
"The Washington Post" reported the change was buried in school budget documents last spring. But it has drawn protests from parents who said their children need more exercise to be healthy and focused in the classroom.
In response, school officials issued new guidance raising the minimum to 20 minutes. They said principals may add more recess time if they choose, but parents say 20 minutes is still not enough.
Recess has been a flashpoint nationwide as schools are under pressure to raise test scores. Recess advocates said physical activity can improve student achievement.
Montgomery County schools tend to offer 30-minute recesses, while Fairfax County recommends 20 minutes per day.