Gold Medal Schools

December Current News Archive  

Recess Guidance for Schools Based on Air Quality
When should students stay inside? When should recess be canceled? When should sports and exercise be limited? The Utah Department of Environmental Quality, the State Office of Education, and the Utah Department of Health have collaborated to develop a set of air quality guidelines for schools to use in determining whether to cancel outdoor recess on bad air days.

pm2.5 meterThe recess guidance is based on the actual levels of pollution in the air called PM2.5. Hourly levels of pollution can be seen on the Utah Department of Environmental Quality Website. Conditions are reported for SLC/Davis, Tooele, Weber, Box Elder, Utah, and Cache Counties. Other counties in Utah do not usually have air pollution issues.  You then compare these values with the Recess Guidance to determine who should remain indoors for recess and at what levels. 

A listserv has been set up to inform schools of the current PM2.5 levels based on the Recess Guidance. When there is an air quality concern, a notice will be sent out. To subscribe to this listserv send an email to

Tutorials explaining how to use the Division of Air Quality’s website and Recess Guidance have been developed; the tutorials also include information about air quality and its effect on health.

Sun Safety
When you head outdoors with your boots, sleds, and skis, don’t forget the sunscreen. You can still get a sunburn when it is freezing outside. The snow actually increases the impact of the suns rays by reflecting the Ultra Violet Radiation (UVR). The skin is more sensitive during childhood. Children who have just a few sunburns are at an increased risk for developing skin cancer. Here are some ideas for you to help protect your students from the sun:

  • Provide sunscreen to students before going to recess
  • Allow students to wear a hat and glasses when outside
  • Provide activities in the shade
  • Try to avoid being outside in the hottest part of the day
  • Share information with parents about the risks of tanning and sunburns.

The Utah Cancer Control program is offering free presentations to schools to help educate students about the importance of beings sun safe. These presentations can be given to an entire school or a classroom.

We Can
We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity and Nutrition) is a national movement designed to help children 8 to 13 years old stay at a healthy weight. Research shows that parents and caregivers are the primary influence at this age. There are lots of things that parents should know and teach their children about healthy weight. Some of them include:

  • Healthy weight basicswe can logo
  • How to eat right
  • Ways to be active
  • How to reduce screen time at home

For more ideas and information go to the We Can! Website.

Healthy Holiday Recipes
 The holiday season is now in full swing. You may find yourself eating lots of sweets and not as much “healthy food” as you would like. Here are some tips for a healthy holiday

  • Choose white meat over dark meat
  • Skim the fat off turkey drippings before making gravy
  • Eat smaller portions of your favorite foods
  • Instead of heading to the buffet during half time, go play catch or organize a game of touch football
  • Make substitutions for butter or oil in some of your favorite recipes

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