Area schools help students cope with the cold

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- With a week of below freezing temperatures, kids who are in school aren't going to be allowed outside. And that can pose some challenges for teachers and school staff.

Fairmount Elementary School is helping their kids cope with the cold.

On a day that's not going to get out of the single digits, a social worker says two boys arrived at school Wednesday without wearing any coats.

All kids are kept inside for recess, and the school says it's important for teachers to add some extra activities this week so kids can move around and don't go stir crazy from not being able to get outside.

The school district tries to identify students and families that need warm clothing and blankets to help make them more comfortable learning during these bitter cold conditions.

"They are very grateful," said Betsy McLaughlin, the school social worker. "They are cold and a lot of time they don't want to ask for help. I think that's why teachers are so good around here to identify them and tell them to come talk to me. I have a supply of coats so if they do have a coat at home I tell them to just take the coat that we've given them. They can bring it back later if they want but most often they keep the coats."

The superintendent says it's very difficult to determine whether to have school or not. Ultimately, he recognizes some kids may get their only hot meal at school and many parents must work today instead of stay home with their kids.

Thanks to donations from community groups and businesses, the school district has a good supply of coats, hats and gloves for any child who may need them.

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