Below zero temperatures expected to keep Anchorage students indoors

Published: Jan. 17, 2017 at 9:07 PM AKST
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With temperatures dropping well below zero, Anchorage school officials are saying it will likely be too cold to send kids outside for recess in the coming days.

For the majority of students in the Anchorage School District, it’s mandatory to spend recess outside on the playground, but an exception to the rule comes into play when temperatures hit negative ten degrees Fahrenheit, including windchill.

The National Weather Service forecast on Tuesday evening windchill could reach negative 20 degrees by ten o’clock Wednesday morning.

“Definitely watching the temperatures this week,” said principal Kristina Peterson of Willow Crest Elementary. “When it gets close to the end of the day, that last minute check helps us to decide if we're in or out for recess.”

The decision to keep students in the classroom is made on a school-to-school basis.

At Chinook Elementary, the principal says it's a rare occasion to forego their mandatory outdoor recess policy. She says it only happens one or two days in a typical school year.

“I think we called recess once last year, and it wasn't even due to weather,” said principal Anita Stevens. “It was due to icy conditions [on the playground].”

Students in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District are also expected to be spending their recess indoors this week. Their cold weather policy begins at 20 below zero.