After a successful pilot, St. Andrews School will once again offer the “Polar Bear Club” that would allow intermediate students (grades 4, 5, and 6) to go outside during recess time when the temperature falls below -27° Celsius. As you are likely aware, the Lord Selkirk School Division’s current policy states that when the temperature falls below -27° Celsius, students and staff are to remain indoors during recess periods. Accordingly, participation in the Polar Bear Club is completely optional and will only be allowed for intermediate students that have received parental/guardian permission.
The idea of operating such a club was brought to the attention of our Parent Advisory Council in November 2015 after a parent read an online CBC news story about St. Angela School in Regina, Saskatchewan that has already implemented its own “Polar Bear Club” (VIEW LINK at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/... ). The Parent Advisory Council requested that our administrative team investigate and seek approval from the Lord Selkirk School Division to operate a similar group at St. Andrews School. At the January 5, 2016 meeting of the Board of Trustees, this initiative was approved with the following expectations:
- Grade 4, 5 and 6 students will not be eligible to participate without permission from their parents/guardians.
- The staff at St. Andrews School supports the idea, both in theory and in practice. The school’s administrative team and any willing staff members will be responsible for supervision duties.
- The intermediate students at the school have been educated about both the benefits (healthy living, exercise, fresh air) and risks of going outside during cold weather.
- Once permission has been granted, students will still have the option - at each recess break - to remain inside the school on days when “Indoor Recess” is occurring.
- Before heading outside, Polar Bear Club members will be expected to check in with a designated playground supervisor to ensure that they have permission and are appropriately dressed. (Dress in layers of warm clothing, with an outer layer that is wind resistant. Cover all exposed skin. Wear a hat, mittens or insulated gloves, neck tube or face mask and insulated, waterproof footwear.)
- If a student elects to head outside and then changes his/her mind, that student will be permitted to return inside.
- When the wind chill exposure becomes “Very High Risk” (–40° Celsius and colder as outlined by Environment Canada), the Polar Bear Club will be cancelled. For further information about cold weather, we encourage parents to refer to Environment Canada’s Wind Chill guidelines at: http://www.windchill.ec.gc.ca.
Please discuss this opportunity with your child to determine whether or not it is something that he or she is interested in. If you would like to grant your child permission to participate in our Polar Bear Club, have your child request a hard copy permission from the office.
If you have any questions about the Polar Bear Club and how it will operate at St. Andrews School, please feel free to contact us at (204) 338-7510.