We encourage schools to use the Recess Guidance and DEQ website to determine recess. Ultimately, the final decision on when to hold indoor recess is made by the schools.
4 Steps to Using the Recess Guidance
Get familiar with the Utah Recess Guidance
Identify sensitive students
Check PM2.5 levels daily
Develop a plan for indoor physical activity
Many of you are already familiar with the Utah Recess Guidance and implement it actively in your schools. Take a moment to familiarize yourselves with the 2016 updates. We encourage you to reserve time during a staff meeting in late fall to review the following materials and get organized:
The Utah Recess Guidance provides recess recommendations for two groups of students:
It can be hard to remember and prepare to keep sensitive students and students with respiratory symptoms indoors when PM2.5 levels are in the orange. See the following steps on how to better prepare.
1. Talk With Parents
It is important to know which students are considered sensitive high risk students. The Utah Recess Guidance defines sensitive high risk students as those with asthma, cystic fibrosis, chronic lung disease, congental heart disease, compromised immune systems, or other respiratory problems.
Parents, with the advice of their doctor, should determine whether their child is considered sensitive and high risk. Use this sample letter for parents to determine which students are sensitive.
2. Keep a List
Each teacher should keep a list of sensitive high risk students in their classroom. Teachers should also be aware of which students currently have respiratory symptoms, such as coughing and wheezing.
3. Have a Plan
Have a plan for indoor recess for sensitive high risk students and those with respiratory symptoms. When the PM2.5 levels are in the orange (35.5 - 55.4), make sure these students have a designated location in the school to spend indoor recess.
Checking PM2.5 levels should become part of the daily routine at school during winter months. Designate who will be responsible for checking the levels each day, and make sure to check levels at least 3o minutes prior to recess (PM2.5 levels tend to rise during the day).
There are a number of ways to monitor the current air quality levels in your area:
The Utah Asthma Program also provides regular air quality alert emails. The email will include resources for indoor active recess and other tips to improve our air quality.
Click here to sign-up to receive these emails
or send a blank email to
Research shows that physical activity helps students be more engaged and ready to learn. However, when students are kept indoors due to poor air quality, it can be logistically difficult to encourage active indoor play.
Luckily, there are a number of easy and effective indoor recess resources and activities that your students can do on their own and with little physical space. Before winter inversions arrive, put together a plan for indoor recess activities using the following resources.