Cold Weather Guidelines
Recess and unstructured play outdoors is vital to our goals of increasing physical activity for children. Most children can participate in vigorous play in an outdoor environment if properly clothed. Weather precautions are necessary while students wait outside for school to begin and wait for transportation home from school. Hypothermia can result from prolonged exposure to the cold. Due to our rapidly changing weather, students are frequently unprepared in wearing enough clothing to provide adequate protection. Because of this unreliability, our district must take extra caution to provide a safe environment for all students during inclement weather.
Temperature and Wind-chill Factor Recommendations
Temperature plus wind velocity or wind chill is a prominent factor in determining cold weather safety. As the speed of the wind increases, it carries heat away from the body more quickly. The effective temperature is the air temperature multiplied by the wind velocity; commonly know as the wind chill factor (see the following chart). Conditions in the shaded zone make it dangerous for time spent outside. Wet weather and wet clothing create more rapid heat loss from the body, therefore increasing the risk for hypothermia even in cool temperatures (above 40 degrees). Also, 50% to 60% of the body’s heat loss takes place from the head and hands. Children cool more rapidly than adults due to their relatively greater surface area to body mass ratio.
The decision for students to be outside is determined by the campus administrator. If the weather is questionable for an outside activity such as recess, these websites report the temperature and wind chill factor: www.weather.com website or the www.srh.noaa.gov
It is the recommendation of the Grand Prairie ISD School Health Advisory Council that during a temperature or wind chill factor of 40°students will wait indoors with supervision for school to begin. Students with clothing appropriate for cold weather shall be sent outside to wait for transportation home for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes they shall be allowed back into the building. Students without appropriate clothing for cold weather shall remain inside the building. During inclement weather of rain, snow, lightening, or an approaching storm, students will remain inside.
Heat and Ozone Policy
In an interest to protect student health, faculty and staff should follow the protocols below on ozone action and heat advisory days. Students will be allowed outside for Physical Education, recess, or extracurricular activities using the following guidelines:
No health effects are expected, no special action needed
Students with a respiratory illness such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, and emphysema should limit prolonged exposure.
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Student with a respiratory illness such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, and emphysema should limit exposure entirely. High-energy activities for elementary age children should be limited. All other students should be allowed adequate access to water and shade. For every thirty minutes of high-energy activities, students should be allowed ten minutes of rest. Students involved in outdoor extracurricular activities such as athletics, band, drill, or cheerleading., should also follow the guidelines as stated above.
Very Unhealthy Hazardous
Exposure for students should be limited entirely. Students involved in outdoor extracurricular activities such as athletics, band drill, or cheerleading, should engage in indoor practice on the days designated very unhealthy or hazardous.
Sensitive groups are defined as children who are active in outdoor activities, people involved in high-energy activities, and people with respiratory disease. Students with respiratory disease should follow the advice of a doctor or guardian.
In order to help keep the campus informed, designate a person on your campus to be responsible for notifying you of ozone action days. This person should follow ozone colors posted on the following website: www.airnow.gov for the hourly air quality index.
In addition, you can use one or all from the following methods for notifying your campus:
- E-mail alerts to the teaching staff
- Use color coded flags in easily visible areas.
- Include ozone levels in the morning announcements
- Include a definition of the ozone level for the day, temperature (high expected) and precautions.
During times of excessive heat, the following precautions will be taken for all outdoor physical activity including, but not limited to: recess, physical education classes and /or outdoor field trips.
- Start slowly getting students acclimated to hot-weather exercise.
- Use a 1-to 2 ratio of exercise to rest schedule. Example: 5 minutes of vigorous exercise to 10 minutes of rest and fluid replacement.
- Students should be hydrated prior to outdoor activities and drinking water shall be easily accessible.
- During extended periods of outdoor activity (> 30-35 minutes) periodic drinking should be enforced.
- Students should not have recess or Physical Education classes outside during extreme heat > 95 degrees.
- Teachers are advised to use precaution on days when the temperature or heat index is high. Limit outside activity to no more than 15 minutes and ensure that students have access to adequate water prior to and/or after outside play. Be aware that hot playground equipment may cause burns.
See Coaches and Trainers regarding outdoor activity during Athletics.
In order to help keep the campus informed, designate a person on your campus to be responsible for notifying you of heat action days. This person should follow the listed heat index posted on the following website: www.weather.com for the hourly temperature and heat index readings.