Elmhurst Parents Object to Elementary Snack Time in Cold Weather

District 205 said students will go outdoors for snack/recess if the "feels like" temperature is 10 degrees or higher.

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Hybrid learning is back in session at Elmhurst District 205, but many parents are expressing concerns about snack time at the elementary schools.

Monday’s "feels like" temperature was 15 degrees when combined with the windchill.

"My daughter came home and she was telling us that her fingers were so cold that she couldn’t even open her snack, so of course that was upsetting," said parent Amy Schmidt.

District 205 said students will go outdoors for snack/recess if the "feels like" temperature is 10 degrees or higher. The district said principals have communicated to parents ahead of time that there would be no lunch service given the five-hour day and the guidance from state and local health officials and experts about eating indoors.

"There are a lot of outraged parents that we can just do way better than this," said parent Mia Allen.

Allen told NBC 5 the schools have indoor areas that would allow students to socially distance while snacking.

Her husband, Justin Allen, said parents feel like their children are being used as bargaining chips between the school board and the teachers union.

The Elmhurst Teachers Council said the school board re-instated the hybrid mode too soon.

"Having the snacks outside under normal weather conditions for recess is a reasonable health and safety measure that the board implemented," said Max Schoenberg, president of the Elmhurst Teachers Council. "It is not our intent to put parents in the middle of any disagreement over safety we may have with board."

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should avoid playing outside if it "feels like" negative 15 degrees.

“The colder it is out, the less time that kids should be outside,” said Dr. Alison Tothy of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “So at 10 degrees, 15 degrees, it isn’t the time to be out for an hour."

Tothy said it's important for children to dress warmly and be prepared for the cold.

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