HEAT Index

by uthscsa2011 uthscsa2011 Member Nurse

Has 5 years experience.

Good Morning,

I wanted to hear how you all handle Recess and the heat index at your campuses. Here in San Antonio, we cancel recess when the heat index hits 100. My principal and teachers really want to go outside and hate for cancelling recess, but down here the temps have been up to 105 everyday by 12pm. My principal asked me if I cancel recess due to the heat index, can the coach still take the kids outside to "walk laps". And if I cancel recess, can the kids still go outside in the shade?

How would you all handle these questions? I thought I was clear when I said "no recess".




9 Posts

This chart is from the Illinois States Board of Education - I like it because it pretty clearly lays out the descriptions for the heat indices (and wind chills). I think sharing with staff members can help them to understand the importance and help in making sure they know that extended exposure can cause damage. http://www.isbe.net/pdf/school_health/wind-heat-chart.pdf

Overall, for walking laps, I would say it depends HOW high the heat index is, how old the kids are, is the area shaded, etc.



Has 5 years experience. 106 Posts

In my case, the coach still wants to take them to "walk laps" outside when the heat index is over 100+, and there is no shade outside at our playground.



1,294 Posts

I am up in North Texas - Elementary school. Our rules are indoor recess/PE if temp reaches 94 OR the heat index is 100; Red Ozone warning - indoor recess/PE; orange Ozone warning - time outside is restricted to half its normal length; Cold weather - OUtdoor recess/PE if temp is 32 and wind chill is above 32.


Specializes in Pediatrics Retired. 1 Article; 4,787 Posts

Near Corpus Christi Texas; district policy is, on the elementary level, no outside activity for the rest of the day once the heat index hits 100.


Jolie, BSN

Specializes in Maternal - Child Health. Has 36 years experience. 6,375 Posts

If it's too hot to safely go outside, then it's too hot to safely go outside. The staff and students are not going to gain a thing physically, mentally or socially by walking laps in extreme heat with no shade. They're better off walking the halls or running in the gym.

mc3, ASN, RN

Has 12 years experience. 931 Posts

I have been arguing this issue with my AP and Coach for almost a year. The response was "well, they're just in bad shape from sitting around" I live in Florida. It's darned hot here, starting in early May through October. If the heat index is over 105 as it has been for a few weeks now, I think the kids should do something else at PE instead of running relay races in the sun. Especially in the mid-afternoon. So far, I've had about 4-5 kids come down overheated to the point where a parent complained. I relayed the complaint. I can't even get anyone to tell me what our school policy is regarding the heat. I'm sorry - if it's too hot to be outside for a fit adult, it's way to hot for the kids.

I plan to keep arguing this...does anyone have any information on policies from various school boards in Florida? I've looked on several web sites, but can't find anything.


mc3 :cat:

akulahawkRN, ADN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in Emergency Department. Has 7 years experience. 3,488 Posts

This has been an issue in athletics for quite a while. Usually the High School coaches know that it's not good to practice when the Heat Index is over 100 degrees because their athletes can't cool off efficiently. Once the HI goes above about 105, then they have to cancel practice because it's incredibly dangerous.

My background is in Sports Med. Once the HI has gotten to the point where it's too dangerous for kids to go outside to play, it's too dangerous for them to be outside doing any sort of activity. I suggest you get good with a sling psychrometer because you can use it with a chart to do on-the-spot HI measurement so that you can quickly determine when it's appropriate to allow or cancel a particular activity.