How do Austin schools protect students during extreme heat?

Simple Health

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Independent School District has guidelines in place to limit how much time students spend outside during triple digit heat.

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AISD policy states all children in elementary schools must get 30 minutes of recess per day and 20 consecutive minutes of Working Out for Wellness, or WOW.

District officials say the guidelines were created for the health and safety of students participating in outdoor activities during intense heat.

According to AISD’s Hot Weather Guidelines, if the temperature hits 100°F and/or a heat index of 110°F:

  • Students can only go outside for a maximum of one hour at recess/physical education and a five-minute water break
  • AISD Athletes can practice for a maximum of two hours with a five-minute water break every 30 minutes  
  • Football players must remove helmets and shoulder pads when possible

On days the temperature reaches 105°F and/or a heat index of 115°F:

  • Athletes are allowed to practice a maximum 1.5 hours with a five-minute water break every 20 minutes
  • Middle school students may only practice 45 minutes with a five-minute water break every 15 minutes
  • PE/recess must be limited to 45 minutes of exposure with a five-minute water break every 15 minutes

If temperatures reach 110 degrees, or a heat index of 120, there is no outside activity.

AISD’s athletic director Leal Anderson said it’s important students especially athletes are prepared for hot weather days by staying hydrated.

“We start well in advance because we know it can be hot in August,” said Anderson. “We want our kids and our coaches to be safe. We talk about hydration and taking breaks throughout practice and making sure that practice is either shortened or that they have breaks throughout practice so they can stay hydrated.”

The district also has cold weather guidelines in place measured by windchill.

The guidelines state: “When properly clothed, elementary school-aged children can participate in safe, vigorous play in an outdoor environment in most weather conditions. Increased caution should be practiced when the wind chill factor reaches below 40 degrees. When the wind chill falls below 30 degrees, students should be kept indoors.”

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