August 26, 2019
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How cold is too cold for recess? Hard to say in chilly Maine

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
Lillian Young, 9, of Bangor (left) takes a shot at the basket while shooting hoops with her twin brother Gavin Young (right) and their father Rob Young (not pictured) at Fairmount Park, Jan. 21, 2013.

A lecturer at the University of Maine in Orono said her study of how schools handle weather and outdoor activity shows that it’s difficult to determine just how cold is too cold for recess.

Kinesiology and physical education lecturer Lauren Jacobs conducted a statewide survey of Maine elementary school principals in 2017. The university said Jacobs found recess policies “vary greatly across the state.”

Jacobs found that some schools don’t cancel outdoor recess unless the temperature and wind chill fall below zero degrees Fahrenheit. Others will draw the line at 20 degrees higher than that. Unsurprisingly, Jacobs found that northern Maine schools tend to be more willing to accept a low temperature cutoff.

Jacobs said more research is needed to help schools determine how weather policy changes impact students’ outside time.


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