Too Cool At School? Some Concerned About Students Being Outside in the Cold

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - As temperatures continue to dip some parents are raising concerns about their kids being outside before school, during recess, and other parts of the school day. Now, District 51 wants to clear the air on its cold weather policies.

To cool at school? Cozette Wheeler thinks it is. She says her daughter, who goes to Fruitvale Elementary, has complained to her about having to wait outside in the mornings before the school lets students in.

"Yesterday she was almost crying when I took her to school," said Wheeler. "She was shivering, she was huddled up against my leg and she said why can't we go inside? I'm cold mama."

To make matters more interesting, she says, her other daughter who goes to Mt. Garfield Middle was forced to stay inside because of the cold. District 51 says there's a simple explanation for that.

"The question is always is there a district policy that guides schools when the weather gets cold, and there really isn't," said Jeff Kirtland, spokesperson for School District 51.

Instead, that decision lies with the principals of each individual school.

"School principals know their communities," said Kirtland. "They know what to expect, they can work closely with students' needs."

District officials say their principals monitor the temperature and wind chill daily, and many have implemented policies about attire if students are going to be outside in the cold.

"Schools really will say if a kid is cold they can come inside," said Kirtland.

Still, Wheeler would like to see something more uniform.

"They need to have a plan and a policy on this and there needs to a set temperature that each school brings the kids in at," said Wheeler.

Other parents say they have no problem with their kids being outside on cooler days.

"I think as long as they're bundled up they're good to go," said Sashwa Cleveland. "They're going to play outside at home anyways."

"I believe in that philosophy, 60 minutes of outside play a day for kids," said Raymond Smithson. "I believe that's very true."

Still more believe there's room for some middle ground. Sommer Padgett posted the following comment on the KKCO NBC 11 News Facebook page:

"My kid loves to play outside. I don't want her to be told she can't. But if it gets too cold, I'd like her to have the option to go back inside."

District officials say if parents have any input on how a school handles in the issue, the best thing they can do is contact that school's principal directly.

"If kids are cold, if they have issues, medical issues, or other concerns parents need to communicate that to the principals," said Kirtland. "In those cases, kids are allowed to come into the school building."

Officials say if providing a coat to a child is an issue for a family, there are programs available within the district where one can be donated to them.

KKCO firmly believes in freedom of speech for all and we are happy to provide this forum for the community to share opinions and facts. We ask that commenters keep it clean, keep it truthful, stay on topic and be responsible. Comments left here do not necessarily represent the viewpoint of KKCO 11News.

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