Winter weather has made its way to the Pacific Northwest! We’d like to remind everyone that with the snow and cold temperatures comes the need to send your children to school prepared for the cold and snowy weather. Each year DPSD runs a winter clothing drive and collects coats, hats, mittens, and boots for kids of all ages. If your child needs a particular piece of winter wear to stay warm in the cold weather, please be sure to connect with the counselor at your child’s school – they will be happy to try and locate the right piece of winter wear in just the right size.
Obviously, living in the Pacific Northwest means that winter weather conditions can change daily, if not hourly. In the event that inclement weather should necessitate a delay in the start of school or the closing of all schools, we will continue to use our website and the SchoolMessenger calling system to quickly and conveniently share information with all families; of course, we will continue to inform local news agencies so that TV stations are able to broadcast accurate information. Again, we will work hard to keep the district website updated with up to the minute weather related announcements – please check back regularly when conditions are poor (don’t forget to use that “refresh” button to make sure you’re getting the latest information!).
Students who walk to school or wait at school bus stops should be dressed appropriately for cold temperatures and snowy conditions. If you have particular concerns regarding your child’s safety getting to or from school, please call the DPSD Transportation Dept. at 464-5530. Proper outerwear should include boots, hats, gloves or mittens, a warm coat and possibly even snow pants.
Our elementary schools often get calls about recess during especially cold weather. Parents want to know: When is it too cold for outdoor recess?
Recess is critically important to the mental and physical well-being of children. Whenever possible, we seek to have students playing outside for recess as a break from classroom-based and other indoor activities.
There are no national or professional standards for temperature that preclude sending children outside for recess. School districts often provide general guidelines, but ultimately give decision-making authority to individual school principals. While students in states that experience especially cold temperatures (who can be expected to be dressed appropriately for cold weather) may be sent out in freezing temperatures, students in Arizona or Florida may be kept in when the temperatures approach 40˚ or 50˚ Fahrenheit. Other factors, such as wind and precipitation, are always taken into account, but the primary consideration is always the safety of our students.
In Deer Park Schools, principals use the following general guidelines for decision making related to recess:
- Regular outdoor recess will be held when outside air temperature and/or wind chill is 20° (F) or greater. The presence of rain or snowfall can influence this decision.
- Limited outdoor recess will be held when outside air temperature and/or wind chill is between 10° and 19° (F) – once again, the presence of precipitation or snowfall may influence the final decision.
- Indoor recess will be held when outside air temperature and/or wind chill is lower than 10° (F). Indoor recess is always an option when a principal decides that steady rainfall or heavy snowfall have created unsafe conditions.
- Whenever students are sent outside in cold temperatures, building staff watch for individual children that are not wearing appropriate clothing and may be at risk. In the event that a child does not have access to clothing necessary for cold temps or snow, our schools are able to help! A number of private donors and charity groups provide our school counselors with winter clothing in many sizes and colors.
Finally, please remember that as icy and/or snowy conditions hit us this winter, motorists should use extra precaution when following or approaching a school bus – as we know, school buses make frequent stops as they load and unload students. Remember that laws require motorists to stop when the school bus stop arm is extended and red lights are flashing. Also, please be extra careful when driving near schools or when dropping off or picking up your child. We want everyone to be safe on the slick and icy roads!