Guidelines for Outdoor Play in Cold Weather

            All schools

Some schools continue to keep children inside when the temperature is below 32 degrees. This is not consistent with current Health Department recommendations or current DOE policy. Children benefit from vigorous exercise and should be given the opportunity to play outside whenever possible. Unless it is snowing or there is ice on the playground, low temperatures should not be a barrier to outside play, as long as children are appropriately dressed. The Health Department strongly encourages principals to maintain outdoor play periods on the vast majority of winter days. For additional information, contact Roger Platt, M.D.

From: "Platt Roger" <>
Date: January 12, 2011 11:31:43 AM EST
To: "Janet Perles
Subject: RE: Outdoor play in cold weather

Ms. Perles
Attached is the latest post to the New York City Department of Education's Principal's Weekly on this issue.  After this post appeared, I received several e-mails from principals asking for more precise guidance.  My recommendations are as follows:
If the wind chill factor is above 20 degrees, it is safe to play outside.  If the wind chill factor is 0-20, outside play is advised provided that students are appropriately dressed and under observation to make sure that they are wearing their coats, hats and gloves.
Roger Platt, M.D.
Director of School Health
New York City Department of Education

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene