By Bethann Stewart, McClatchy-Tribune
Whether it’s the bus stop in the morning or afternoon recess, kids need to be prepared to spend time outside during their school day, say school administrators.
“I’ve seen kids come to school in T-shirts and shorts,” said Rick Bollman, principal at Cynthia Mann Elementary in Boise, Idaho. “They think they’re tough, and they’re going to go out like that.”
But it’s not a good idea.
School administrators across the Valley agree: Kids should wear boots with traction for ice or snow, a winter coat, a hat and gloves.
Even when it’s chilly outside, kids may still go outside for recess, said Boise School District spokesman Dan Hollar.
Most principals use the 20-degree mark to determine whether to keep kids in, but 25 degrees is still pretty cold.
Buses run just fine in the snow, Hollar said, but traffic in the Valley can slow to a crawl, which can make buses late.
Kids may have to wait a little longer than usual at bus stops, which can cause problems for children who aren’t appropriately dressed, he said.
Even in January, sometimes schools have to be evacuated, said Meridian School District spokesman Eric Exline. It can take up to 30 minutes for the fire department to make sure there isn’t a fire in the school, plenty of time for toes to freeze in flip flops.
“You’re going to go outside in whatever you came to school in,” Exline said. “You’re going to be cold, and it’s not going to be fun.”
Counselors and teachers keep their eyes open for students who may be in need of winter clothes but not have the money for them.
“We will look at the kids and if they’re not properly dressed, we’ll help find clothes for them,” said Caldwell School District spokeswoman Jennifer Swindell.
Many community groups step up to help, she said.
Last year, all 550 students at Van Buren Elementary got a new coat, she said.