Cold weather guidelines

Cold Weather Guidelines

Introduction

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.