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Too cool for some schools in eastern Idaho

By Stephanie Hale-Lopez
Published On: Jan 03 2013 06:50:07 PM CST

Several schools across eastern Idaho were closed Thursday after temperatures dropped below zero. Grace, North Gem and West Jefferson School Districts canceled class.

AMMON, Idaho -

Several schools across eastern Idaho were closed Thursday after temperatures dropped below zero.

Grace, North Gem and West Jefferson School Districts canceled class, but what happens to those still in school despite the cold?

Mountain Valley Elementary Principal, Brian Armes, said if the temperature outside drops below zero, his kids stay inside for recess and lunch.

"In probably the last four or five years, we have not had as many snow days as we had temperature days," said Armes. "We've been out more for temperature."

School leaders said January is the most popular month for indoor recess and school closure based on the chilly temps. Schools in eastern Idaho typically cancel classes if the temperature outside hits negative 20.

"Even if sometimes it might be -25 or -30, but it's crystal clear and it's going to warm up, then we have the kids come to school and we keep them inside where it's safe and warm and the day is still fine," said Armes.

Armes said teachers stay away from showing a movie during indoor recess. Instead, students are encouraged to play games with each other, so they still get the same social interaction an outside recess provides.

"A lot of families seem to have children more in isolation, so they are just watching TV or movies," said Armes. "They don't get a chance to play games in a community-style that really does encourage and foster good, social interaction."

School administrators want to remind parents to dress their kids warmly, even if it's an indoor recess kind of day. You never know when there might be a fire drill or a need to evacuate.

In the Treasure Valley, Boise School District administrators emailed principals and encouraged them to use their best judgment in allowing students outside Thursday.

They said 20 degrees is used as a baseline to keep students indoors for activities.

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