Cascade Heights Public Charter School

Winter Outdoor Recess Policy

12 November 2014 Written by  

It does get chilly in our part of the country, and students and families need to be prepared for it. Teachers will use the following guidelines and their own best judgment in ensuring your child is safe and relatively comfortable during the cold months of the year. You can do your part by sending your chidren to school with the following: coat, warm hat, gloves or mittens, scarf (ideal), warm boots (ideal). If you are unable to acquire the basics, please contact your child's teacher or Mrs. Denman, and we will happily help you.

Students need fresh air daily, and it helps reduce illness (being cooped up in a room with recycled air is the best way to spread germs), a bad case of the wiggles, and sleepy brains. As such, we will do our best to ensure daily fresh air for students, following the policy outlined below.

Please note:

Frostbite CANNOT happen unless the ambient temperature (actual temperature+ windchill) falls below 32°F. Fingers may hurt, be cold and numb, but they are not frostbitten.
Hypothermia can happen under a variety of temperatures and situations. Someone submerged in water that is 70°F for an extended period of time will succumb to hypothermia. Someone ill-equipped for the weather and left outside without movement at 20°F will eventually succumb to hypothermia. Students who wear coats (and possibly hats or hoods) at 35°F or so for 15-20 minutes, and who are (hopefully) moving, have no danger of hypothermia.

This policy was drafted taking into account average activity level, average recess time, and average regional temperatures for Portland, OR (the fact that our children are NOT used to the average temperatures of Fairbanks, AK was taken into account!).

Not accounting for windchill factor:

  • Children will eat outdoors and may make the choice about coats, etc.: 41°F and above
  • Teachers will require the wearing of coats (for activity time of recess): 40°F and below
  • Teachers will require the wearing of a hat and gloves/mittens (students without will not participate in the activity): 35°F
  • Eating (snack and lunch) will occur indoors with outdoor recess following one of the below guidelines: 40°F and below

Normal outdoor recess: 26°F and above
Shortened outdoor recess (5 to 10 minutes): 18°F-25°F
Indoor recess: 18°F and below

What you can do to ensure your child's comfort and health with the above policy:

  • Send them to school with a coat, hat, mittens/gloves, and scarf
  • Tell them they must wear the coat, hat, mittens/gloves, and scarf
  • Send them with plenty of quality-calorie food for snack and lunch, as well as fresh water
  • Tell them about the children in Fairbanks, AK, who go out to recess like normal unless it's colder than -20°F!).
  • Teach them how to zip or button their coats

To download this or other policies, please visit our Policies & Procedures page.

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