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How cold is too cold?

Elementary school principals have been on the hot seat during this week’s deep freeze.

Elementary school principals have been on the hot seat during this week’s deep freeze.

For them, the extreme cold is a no-win situation: Do you cancel recess and provoke a hyperactive outburst from hundreds of kids, or go ahead and risk student frostbite and the ire of overprotective parents?

How cold is too cold?

In Winnipeg, where the temperature yesterday reached –46 C with the wind chill, recess is cancelled at –30 C.

In Florida, the entire state gets a cold weather warning when the temperature reaches about 2 C.

In Toronto, the magic number is –28 C, with or without the wind chill. Anything colder and the Toronto District School Board suggests principals keep students inside.

But between –20 C and –28 C, it’s up to the principal to decide.

That was the situation yesterday at the TDSB’s 451 elementary schools across the city.
At Clinton Street Junior Public School in Little Italy, principal Wendy Hughes acquiesced to the bone-rattling cold, keeping kids inside for a second consecutive day.

“It was so close to the lower limit,” she said.

Hughes spoke with teachers and the few parents who did drop off their children; the consensus was to cancel recess.