Schools cancel recess after cold weather rules kick in

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

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

Kloee Wood and her first grade class normally go outsideevery day for recess, but the swing set and jungle gym had to sit empty becausein her words it was "really cold" outside. With temperatures hovering in theteens throughout the day, the teachers had to follow the cold-weather policythat 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 thattemperature, then we do not go outside," said Kathy Magness, the NewarkElementary School principal. "No students go outside."

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

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

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

"We always tell [the students] to be prepared," Magnesssaid. "Find gloves and a hat…and bring your good, heavy coat, and come preparedbecause you can always take it off and leave it in your classroom if you do notneed it."

She said the school tries to protect kids from the cold notonly when they're playing outside, but also when they're waiting to go home.

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

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

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