Weather-Related Recess Guidelines
Outdoor recess is an integral part of the school day and provides students with a break from structured instructional time while enabling opportunities for physical exercise and social development. There are times, however, when weather conditions are such that it is not advisable or safe for students to be outside for recess.Though it is difficult to establish guidelines that apply appropriately in every circumstance based on varying weather conditions, the following guidelines have been developed to be implemented consistently. Building principals and their designee(s) shall monitor and evaluate weather and other outside conditions carefully and on a continuous basis; when situation-specific circumstances cause the principal or designee to believe that a deviation from the below guidelines is warranted and consistent with the health, safety, and welfare of students, principals or their designee(s) may authorize a deviation from the below guidelines, except where otherwise noted.The Assistant Superintendent or designee shall be notified any time a building principal or their designee has approved an exception to the below guidelines.
General GuidelinesStudents are expected to dress appropriately for weather conditions in order to participate in outdoor recess. During the winter months and on cold days, coats, gloves/mittens and hats are encouraged. On hot days, more lightweight, looser-fitting clothing is encouraged. Students may be required to remain indoors for recess if they are not safely dressed for outdoor weather conditions, as determined by the principal or designee, in consultation with the school nurse as needed.
Hot Weather Guidelines
Recess will be held indoors any time the National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning or heat advisory for Montgomery County.
An excessive heat warning is issued within 12 hours of the onset of extremely dangerous heat conditions. The general rule of thumb for this warning is when the maximum heat index temperature is expected to be 105° or higher for at least 2 days and night time air temperatures will not drop below 75°. A heat advisory is issued within 12 hours of the onset of extremely dangerous heat conditions. The general rule of thumb for this advisory is when the maximum heat index temperature is expected to be 100° or higher for at least 2 days, and night time air temperatures will not drop below 75°.
In the event of an excessive heat warning, building principals and their designee(s) are not permitted to authorize an exception to these guidelines, and recess must be held indoors, unless authorized in advance by the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent.
During hot weather, adults supervising recess periods should advise students of the heightened importance of remaining hydrated and taking more frequent water breaks and rests from physical activity. As a general matter, these additional efforts shall be made when the outside temperature is approximately 80 degrees or higher.
Adults supervising recess periods shall be alert to students who are demonstrating signs of dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or other heat related illness, and shall immediately contact the school nurse in the event a student is demonstrating any such symptoms.
Cold Weather Guidelines
Recess will be held indoors any time the National Weather Service has issued a wind chill or freeze warning for Montgomery County.
A wind chill warning is issued when dangerously cold wind chill values are expected or occurring. A freeze warning is issued when temperatures are forecasted to go below 32 °F for a long period of time.
Building principals and their designee(s) are not permitted to authorize an exception to these guidelines, and recess must be held indoors, unless authorized in advance by the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent.
Recess will be held indoors any time there is frozen precipitation on the outdoor surface(s) where recess would otherwise take place or where other circumstances are present such that the building principal or designee reasonably believes that the safety and welfare of students and staff will be safeguarded or promoted by holding recess indoors.
Adults supervising recess periods shall be alert to students who are demonstrating signs of hypothermia, early signs of frostbite, or other cold weather illness, and shall immediately contact the school nurse in the event a student is demonstrating any such symptoms.
Children with Special Health Conditions
Children with special health conditions, including, but not limited to asthma, epilepsy, and diabetes may need special accommodations on excessively hot or cold days with respect to participating in outdoor recess. All applicable provisions of a student’s IEP and/or Section 504 Plan shall be followed at all times. Additionally, the principal or designee should attempt to honor parent/guardian requests for their child to remain indoors for recess when recess is otherwise held outdoors and the basis for the parent/guardian request is a documented, weather-related medical condition.
Other Unanticipated or Exceptional Conditions Not Related to Weather
A student or students should be removed from recess if unanticipated or exceptional conditions threaten the health, safety or welfare of the student(s) or others. Such conditions could include, but are not limited to, air quality alerts/warnings or local activity by law enforcement or other first responders.