How cold is too cold for outdoor recess?

How cold is too cold for outdoor recess? That was the hot question circulating in Spokane Tuesday. Despite temperatures in the teens, some schools still held recess outside. Parents asked KHQ to investigate the district's policy.

We learned it's up to each individual school to decide whether or not outdoor recess is appropriate. Typically, they all come to the same decision, but some parents said that wasn't the case this week.

"They shouldn't have been outside, it's too cold," said father Joe Rusho.

Rusho's daughter goes to Browne Elementary. Browne is one of at least two schools within the Spokane Public School District who had recess outside on Tuesday. KHQ clocked the high Tuesday at just 16 degrees, not factoring the wind-chill.

"They can get frostbite," Joe said. "They can get sick."

No one from the district would give KHQ an on-camera interview on Wednesday, but their director of communications did send out an email saying in part, "Once the outdoor temperatures (with wind chill built in) reach in the teens, I think you will find that most principals are asking their teachers to keep their students inside."

Clearly, that was not the case at Browne on Tuesday. Reporter Hayley Guenthner was able to connect with the principal for a brief phone call. The principal told her student safety is her number one priority. She said checks the forecast regularly before making her final recess determination.

The school district said if you are worried about your child going outside, provide a note and they will kept indoors.

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