Schools cancel recess after cold weather rules kick in - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Schools cancel recess after cold weather rules kick in

NEWARK, AR (KAIT) – The frigid temperatures may not have caused any schools in Northeast Arkansas to cancel classes, but it did make many of them cut recess.

Schools like Newark Elementary in the Cedar Ridge School District forbid students from going outside Monday because the teachers said it was simply too cold to play on the playground.

Kloee Wood and her first grade class normally go outside every day for recess, but the swing set and jungle gym had to sit empty because in her words it was "really cold" outside. With temperatures hovering in the teens throughout the day, the teachers had to follow the cold-weather policy that many schools have adopted.

"Our policy states that if it's 32 degrees or below – anything below 32 degrees or if the wind chill would factor into it being that temperature, then we do not go outside," said Kathy Magness, the Newark Elementary School principal. "No students go outside."

With no one allowed on the playground, Magness said the teachers made sure their students still had some fun after lunch.

"They can still get that energy out and be ready to learn when the recess time is over and back in the classroom," she said.

For the first grade class, the students got to spread out in the hallway and play with everything from board games to blocks. The fifth and sixth grade students played games in their classrooms rather than spending time bundled up on the playground.

"We always tell [the students] to be prepared," Magness said. "Find gloves and a hat…and bring your good, heavy coat, and come prepared because you can always take it off and leave it in your classroom if you do not need it."

She said the school tries to protect kids from the cold not only when they're playing outside, but also when they're waiting to go home.

"The teachers also take the children out, and we stand in the hallway by the doors until all the buses are lined up where no children have to stand outside in the cold," Magness said. "When they're all lined up, I give them the okay signal, and they walk them out, and we try to load buses as quickly as possible where they're not out in the weather."

The teachers expect Kloee and her friends to spend recess indoors for the next few days, but the first grader hopes it warms up again by the end of the week. That's because when she was asked where she prefers playing, she simply said, "I like playing outside better."

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