With the cold weather and snow always comes the question from parents as to how it is determined whether or not it will be an indoor recess as opposed to outdoor recess. So, I wanted to take a minute to remind everyone of Jackling’s policy and procedures when determining whether it will be an indoor or outdoor recess. First of all, I would like to say that we don’t ever make the decision lightly. Also, keep in mind that we are making a decision based on what is best for the majority of the 500+ students at Jackling. Lastly, we make the determination based on the assumption that parents ensure that their children come with adequate winter attire – coat (not a hoodie!) and warm shoes/boots for sure; and then preferrably gloves, earmuffs, etc.
When making a determination, my secretary and I first follow district policy on the matter. Granite School District has no policy that involves temperature and leaves that determination up to the local schools to make that determination. The district’s policy regarding indoor vs. outdoor recess only addresses air quality. The policy is based on the Utah Department of Health’s measurement of the quantity of particulate matter in the air (PM2.5) – the higher the particulate matter, the worse the condition of the air quality and more detrimental to the body. It is important to note that this measurement has little correlation with the state’s color system (green, yellow, red) for indicating whether or not it is a burn day, which determines whether or not persons can burn wood, coal, and other such things. To see a guideline that illustrates the policy click here. As you can see from the guide, the policy only dictates that we keep all students in from recess when the particulate matter is above 90 ug/m3. It is also important to notice the “Please Note” section of the guide which tells that parents need to inform the school if their child should be included in the sensitive group (the group that may have limited outdoor activity when the air quality is poor). Every morning and again just before lunch, I check the air quality using the state’s website www.airquality.utah.gov.
Obviously, common sense would dictate that there are other factors, in addition to the district’s air quality policy, that should be considered such as temperature, sunny/cloudy, and precipitation (raining, snowing, etc.). Therefore, my secretary and I discuss the current factors and make a determination. However, that determination is only for lunch recess. Each teacher/grade level is given the ability to choose whether or not it should be an indoor or outdoor recess for the morning and afternoon recesses. This is because the teachers are the ones who will be out in the same weather monitoring the students as well as the fact that those recesses are generally 10-15 minutes whereas the lunch recess may be as long as 20 minutes. This procedure also allows for accommodation based on student age because a fifth or sixth grader may be able to handle more inclement weather than a kindergartener or first grader.
Now, after having considered these policies and procedures, one must remember that they are determined with all the students in mind. If you have a student with a specific need or reason that you feel he/she needs to stay inside today, whether it be that you fear she/he may be coming down with something or is recovering from a recent illness, you may send a note with your child requesting him/her to be kept inside for today’s recesses.
So, parents please be sure to send your children with adequate winter attire and we will do our best to ensure that students are safe during recess. If you have any questions that weren’t answered here, please feel free to call or email. Thank!