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Joplin Schools tornado shelters double as gyms for inside recess - KOAM TV 7

Joplin Schools tornado shelters double as gyms for inside recess during bitterly cold weather.

Updated:
 Cold temperatures and wind chills mean elementary students aren't going outside for recess.

 But at most joplin schools, new tornado shelters are giving kids a better option than recess in the classroom.

Just ask second graders at Royal Heights elementary.  “Who in this class loves recess?  And they answer, “Me, me, me, me! "

Second graders  spend the bulk of their day in the classroom with the exception of PE and recess.  But in the past freezing cold weather kept them in the classroom.

Second grader Kamrin Sadd says, "We usually watched a video or something. Sometimes Miss Hinman's class would come in and its really crowded when we're sitting on the carpet."

Second grader Nathan Wardlow adds,  "We would play like heads up, 7 up,  or like this one game called, keys or this other game called doggie, doggie where's your bone?" 

Teacher Kate Tupper says, "We had a handful of resources  and some things like that to do, but the gym just outweighs all of that for sure."

The gym came as a bonus feature when the district built it as a tornado shelter. It means indoor recess with plenty of space for kids to do what they enjoy.

Nathan says, " It's way better cause we get to do a lot of stuff  like four square, shooting hoops, and basketball games. I  like  how we get to play around and  how we get to be free."

Second grader Kassidy Kell says she likes it,  "Because I get to have energy."

Second grader Taylor Houdyshell adds, "I think it's wonderful because you get your mind off of all that school work."

Recess is  just fifteen  to twenty  minutes of activity  but teachers say that can make a big difference to students' performance.

"They're ready to focus on their work and  get started,” says Tupper. “Like  this  time, they were ready to come back and do writing.”

Nathan realizes the impact recess can have. "It really like gets my brain a break and then I can focus on the next thing instead of worrying about stuff."

  Royal Heights will hold a ribbon cutting for the new shelter on January 23rd at four23 rdrty in the afternoon,   followed by an open house and school carnival.

     Storm shelters are now complete at most Joplin schools except West Central, Columbia and Duenweg where construction is underway.   A community shelter at the high school will be completed when the performing arts center opens sometime in March.

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