ST. PAUL - St. Paul Education will be keeping its inclement weather policies as they are, after administration reviewed the specified temperatures included in the policies with school administrators and bus drivers.
Administrative Procedure 311 is specific to adverse weather conditions at the school level, and was brought forward due to the number of indoor recesses that took place over the winter months in 2021-22. The topic was brought up during the April 13 school board meeting.
"No students shall be requested to stay, or go, out on the playgrounds before, or after school, during recesses or noon hours if the temperature during such periods of time is more than -24 degrees Celsius or the wind chill factor is -25 C as per The Weather Network," reads AP 311.
Superintendent Glen Brodziak said that while school staff certainly want students to be able to get outside and enjoy fresh air throughout the school day, it was unanimous among administrators to leave the policy as it is. The risk of frostbite increases with the decrease in temperatures.
Board Trustee Sylvie Smyl asked if a child wanted to go outside, could they do so, despite other students staying in. It was noted that no, staff are instructed to follow the policy, and it would create confusion if some students go out, while others remain inside. It also creates challenges around supervision.
Trustee Darcy Younghans, who worked in the school setting for a numbers of years, said he could see it causing confusion and risks if a young child went outside without someone knowing. He noted that he would err on the side of caution, and all students would stay indoors during adverse weather.
According to AP 311, students are also not to be exposed to elements such as heavy sleet, rain, very high winds, lightning or periods of storm.
"Teachers and supervisors shall be instructed to check for appropriate apparel of students when the temperature, weather conditions and/or the wind chill factor are questionable. Students without appropriate apparel are not to be allowed outside," reads the AP.
Administrative Procedure 131 speaks to "inclement weather" and the transportation of students to school.
Buses may not run or may be sent home early when the temperature if -40C or colder. In cases of temperatures warmer than -40C, but the wind chill factor is -40C or greater, then the division will refer to the "feels like" temperature to make decisions.
Road conditions are also considered when deciding if bus routes are deemed unsafe to travel.
Brodziak reviewed the inclement weather policy with those involved in transportation. He reported back to the board, saying, "it was unanimous that there was no appetite to change." Brodziak recommended the policy stay as-is, which it did.