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Recess Held Outside Despite Cold

Despite Tuesday’s bitterly cold temperatures, children in local schools continued to go outside for recess.Teachers were required to keep a close eye on students during the cold. Early morning recess was moved indoors at some schools, including Grant Elementary in Columbia, but as the temperatures increased slightly, afternoon recess was moved outdoors.”I think that the adults are a little more affected by the temperature than the kids are,” said Mill Creek Elementary School principal Abetha Rawlings.Rawlings says the kids are not phased by the low temperatures. However, emergency crews say it takes just 30 minutes to start seeing the signs of frostbite and children are actually more at risk.Russell Elementary School principal Dr. Ed Schumacher says he and other school administrators monitor the students and the forecast.”The temperature might say one thing, wind and other factors, whether it’s sunny or not sunny,” said Schumacher.With the wind chill at nine degrees around 10 a.m. and 12 degrees at noon, recess was outside.”When they were all going out today, I was in there saying ‘Zip, hats, coats, and gloves, and zip it up,'” said Rawlings.ABC 17 News’ Janai Norman headed out with kids at recess and found some students were appropriately dressed for the cold, while others had trouble staying bundled up.Using a digital thermometer, she found the temperatures of metal monkey bars to be just six degrees and kids were going across them without gloves on.Health officials say the common signs of frostbite are pale, white skin and a feeling of numbness on exposed areas. Still, the kids, with red fingers and rosy cheeks, did not seem to mind.”Most of the time the kids wanna go out and play, so it’s harder to keep them in than to take them out,” said Schumacher.”I was talking to them as they came in from recess today going to lunch,” added Rawlings. “I just asked ‘Are you freezing, was it cold?’ And some say it was great, some say it’s chilly, but no one’s saying it was miserable.”Jefferson City Public Schools told ABC 17 News the district tries to limit outside time if the temperature is below freezing. Columbia Public Schools policy states students will be outside unless the wind chill is below zero.However, it is still a call school administrators make at recess time, so school officials urger parents to make sure students are prepared with all of the essentials — coats, hats, gloves and scarves — even if the kids take them off.

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