• Winter Weather Policies for Outdoor Recess and Physical Education

    During the winter, schools must balance the importance of play time outdoors with safety precautions. School leaders have discretion in deciding whether students will be outdoors or indoors for recess and/or physical education. Schools are provided with guidelines, including ensuring that students are not outside when the temperature or wind chill falls below 10 degrees. 

    Elementary and secondary students are not to be sent or kept outside if the following weather conditions exist:

    • A weather advisory or warning is in effect (such as a tornado watch)

    • Rain, hail or thunderstorms are evident in the area

    • The temperature is below 10 degrees Fahrenheit or a wind chill factor of 10 degrees exists in the late morning (at about 10:30 a.m.)

    • Hazardous conditions exist on the playground, such as construction or repairs

    The guidelines for preschool students are set by the Illinois State Board of Education, which states that gross motor activities take place outdoors whenever weather permits. "Weather permitting" means temperatures between 25 and 90 degrees, taking into consideration the wind chill.  For example, if the temperature is 30 degrees, but only 18 degrees with wind chill, it is not expected that preschool students will have outdoor play time.  

    U-46 families are encouraged to ensure their children are dressed appropriately for the winter weather before leaving the house each morning. This includes a winter jacket, hat, gloves, scarf, and snow boots when there’s snow on the ground.