Washington wildfires and the resulting poor air quality at the beginning of the school year have many parents wondering about how we make our decisions to keep kids in or send them out for recess and for other school and athletics related activities.
As a District, we make every effort to put the health and safety of our students at the forefront of our daily efforts. In times like those experienced recently, we have a system in place to ensure that we are utilizing the most up-to-date information available to help guide our decisions.
When the quality of our local air is in question, we first monitor the Washington Department of Ecology’s website at https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/enviwa/. In the event that this website is unavailable, we utilize the recommendations from the Washington Smoke Blog to guide our decisions (http://wasmoke.blogspot.com/).
After we have evaluated the most recent air quality reports, we cross reference the labels provided with recommendations for Air Pollution and School Activities by the Washington State Department of Health. If the air quality is labeled as Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (orange dot), we restrict all students with breathing challenges from outdoor activities and provide alternative options. If the air quality reaches the Unhealthy (red dot) or Very Unhealthy/Hazardous range (purple dot), we restrict all students from participating in outdoor activities including recess, P.E., and athletics.
After our initial findings for the day, we continuously monitor the air quality and make adjustments throughout the day as needed to protect the health and safety of our students and staff members.
We appreciate the support and patience our students, families and staff members have exhibited during these difficult times. If you have any further questions about our air quality protocol, please contact us at 573-7300.