Disaster Resources - University of Illinois Extension

Winter Safety for Schools

Children can be especially susceptible to the dangers associated with winter weather. Their youthful enthusiasm often takes over when common sense and safety should prevail. Even if they are cold, wet, or exhausted they often are not conscious of the potential impact these conditions pose.

School administrators and principals need to be sensitive to the dangers winter weather can pose to children and be prepared. Winter weather procedures and practices need to be established before the onset of the winter season. When formulating a winter weather safety plan consider the following:

  • The best source for the latest information is NOAA Weather Radio. Most counties fall within their coverage area. Commercial radio or television should also be monitored. Arrangements can also be made with county sheriff's office to have critical weather forecasts relayed to the school.
  • All schools need to have a functional plan in regard to closures due to snow, ice, or extreme cold.
  • During the winter months, guidelines need to be established regarding outside recess periods. Temperatures and wind chills need to be monitored and criteria set as to when outside recess will be allowed.
  • School bus drivers should receive extra training on driving during winter weather. Snow and ice can often accumulate quickly and unexpectedly on roads creating dangerous driving conditions.
  • With many households having two working parents today, it may be necessary for some children to be brought to school early. Schools should make provisions to allow children inside school buildings as early as possible during cold weather.
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