As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, experts have issued warnings that the omicron variant is spreading significantly faster and affecting more people than the delta variant we've dealt with during the past 2 years. As those who are vaccinated and unvaccinated are testing positive for the virus, safety measures continue to grow throughout the country and in Essex county.
Temperatures this winter have been widely varied with some weeks experiencing a 30 degree difference from day to day. This week, we will see outdoor temperatures drop as low as 25 degrees Fahrenheit. This has not deterred strict outdoor lunch and recess mandates for Montclair Public Schools.
Tomorrow, December 21st will mark the first official day of winter. Experts are predicting that the state, as long as the rest of the North East can expect above average temperatures from December all the way into February. AccuWeather's winter forecast predicts that snowfall will be at or above average for the New York metropolitan area. So what does that mean for Montclair public school students?
The school district is currently in the midst of installing "heavy-duty" outdoor tents to trap and contain heat in order to provide a warm environment for students eating outside.
As of right now, the parameters put in place to determine whether or not it is too cold to eat outside are as follows; wind, precipitation, and cloud coverage, as well as whether or not it is above 40 degrees outside.
According to the Superintendent's message released earlier this month, elementary and middle school students do not have the option to choose whether or not to eat outside, high school students will, as their school is an open campus.
The Superintendent's official statement regarding outdoor lunch/recess for the winter months:
"As we strive to continue outdoor lunch/recess as long as possible, since this is an important mitigating strategy against COVID, we ask that you please dress your children in weather-appropriate clothing. All building administrators will be working with their respective School Action Teams for Partnership on how to implement outdoor lunches. If the Real Feel temperature outside is 40 degrees or below, the elementary and middle school building administrators will look at a variety of other variables such as wind, precipitation and cloud coverage in order to determine if students will eat lunch inside or outside that day. The district will be supplying heavy-duty tents to accommodate outdoor lunches during the colder temperatures."