I often get emails from parents inquiring how indoor/outdoor recess is decided. An equal number of parents seem to advocate for going out as staying in on days when the weather is unusually cold or wet. Therefore, I thought it might be helpful to share how the decision is made.
Since fresh air and excercise helps prepare students to learn, we try to send them outside whenever weather conditions allow. To keep them indoors or out is always a challenging call to make. I consult the current temperature and wind chill factor via an app and thermometer, then compare it to the 'Child Care Weather Watch' chart which is used by most schools (see below). In general, we go outside if it is 20 degrees or above. The chart also takes into considerations times when the temperature is above 20, but wind chill makes it fall into the danger zone. For example, many days this year the actual temperature hoovered around 20, but windchill made it feel under 10 degrees.
Sometimes we have to take into consideration unexpected factors. For example, one wintery day this year freezing rain occurred overnight and the pavement was full ice. Given it resembled a skating rink, we did not want to risk having young children fall and obtain concussions from hitting the pavement. Another day, unusually heavy rain left huge puddles on 80% of the play area. After the first recess, we had so many children with wet socks and sneakers a decision was made to move the remaining recesses indoors. This year, it has been more difficult to go outside because we have a limited play area. We are still not able to use most of the playground area because newly planted grass will need to mature until late spring.