Extreme Heat Guidelines for Families

Extreme Heat Guidelines for Families
Posted on 06/19/2024

Weather conditions between May 1st and September 30th have the potential to impact a variety of school operations. It is important that staff and families are aware of the potential impacts that hot weather may have on students.

The SMCDSB uses the High Temperature Guideline Reference Chart to assist with decisions around extreme heat. It is important to note that a “Heat Warning” is issued when there are two consecutive days of daytime temperatures reaching 31 degrees Celsius or more. 

Outdoor Play

Decisions about limiting outdoor activity during a heat warning are made at the school level. It is important to note that schools in the SMCDSB are located in a large geographic area, and temperatures can be quite different depending on the location.

Factors that school administrators will take into account when making decisions about outdoor play include during a heat event: 

  • Length of recess (balance day vs traditional day)

  • Time of day

  • Availability of shade

  • Age of the students

How Can Schools Respond?

Every school will handle a heat event differently, depending on their own unique circumstances. School administrators will carefully assess the situation and respond accordingly. This may include, but not limited to:

  • Shortening or cancelling outdoor recess

  • Encouraging play or activities in shaded areas

  • Providing opportunities for students to come indoors to cool down

  • Providing frequent water, drink and washroom breaks

  • Reducing and/or rescheduling physical activities such as team practices, sporting events and routine gym classes

  • Keeping physical activity to a minimum, if possible

  • Relocating classes/activities to cool places such as air-conditioned areas of the school, ground floor rooms (if applicable), or shady areas on the school grounds

  • Relocating, reschedule or cancel field trips 

  • Making accommodations for students with medical conditions

What Should Families Do? 

We understand that every family’s situation is different. We encourage parents and guardians to consider:

  • Providing a refillable water container

  • Dressing their children in loose-fitting, light coloured and lightweight clothing

  • Providing hats and sunglasses

  • Applying sunscreen prior to coming to school 

  • Communicating medical concerns directly to the school

  • Having conversations with their children about taking precautions, not overexerting themselves and understanding the warning signs of heat exhaustion