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Chesterfield County Public Schools

Outdoor Recess Guidelines

If the outside temperature is 32°F to 35°F, elementary schools are encouraged to limit outdoor recess. The judgment of school staff members is, however, the ultimate guide. They should be sensitive to weather conditions such as wind, overcast skies, relative humidity and precipitation and their effect on how cold it feels to be outside. As important as the other conditions, students must be dressed for the weather.

In determining whether or not outside activities should be conducted in the heat, school staff should refer to the National Weather Service Heat Index. According to the National Weather Service, the Heat Index is a measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature. If outdoor activities are permitted, they should be limited mid-day when it is the hottest part of the day; activity should be paced, start slowly and build up; water intake should be increased while exercising; and sugary liquids should be avoided. Students with chronic health conditions may be affected more quickly by extreme temperature conditions.

A Heat Index of 80˚ or below is considered comfortable; 90˚ is beginning to feel uncomfortable; 100˚ is uncomfortable and may be hazardous; and 110˚ is considered dangerous. Athletic practices and events and ancillary after-school activities (such as band practice) shall be guided by the athletic trainer, if on site, or shall follow established Virginia High School League guidance.

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