For many students at Fields Memorial School it will be less play and more classroom work.

The new principal at the school, who is also the Bozrah district's superintendent, decided to cancel recess in the upper grades. The decision affects students in grades five through eight.

Maureen McLaughlin Scott, who assumed her new job in July, sent a letter to parents last week telling them about the recess decision.

Scott's letter says students need more time in class to meet minimum state requirements for classroom hours and to improve their performance on the Connecticut Mastery Test.

Department of Education Spokesman Tom Murphy said middle school children rarely have recess; Bozrah is the exception.

Connecticut requires schools to offer children in kindergarten through grade five at least 20 minutes for lunch and a period of physical exercise. It leaves specifics up to the local district, Murphy said.