With winter setting in, it’s a good time for a refresher on how air quality can affect recess time.
Student health and safety is our primary concern. As such, schools monitor air quality indexes and take appropriate action based on guidance from the Utah Department of Health.
The guidance aligns with federal Air Quality Index (AQI) recommendations and links indoor recess recommendations to PM2.5 levels, which is the air pollutant of main concern during winter months. The guidance also takes into account students with respiratory symptoms or pre-existing respiratory conditions who may be more sensitive to poor air quality.
Respiratory symptoms may include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.
Sensitive students may include those with asthma, cystic fibrosis, chronic lung disease, congenital heart disease, compromised immune systems, or other respiratory problems.
Parents, with the advice of their health care provider, should inform the school if their child is part of a sensitive group who should have limited outdoor physical activity when air quality is poor.
As outlined in the graph, students with respiratory symptoms or other health concerns should remain indoors when PM2.5 levels are above 35.5. All students remain indoors when PM2.5 levels are above 55.5.
For more information and for up-to-date air quality levels, visit air.utah.gov
You can also help our students breathe easier by not idling in drop off/pick up zones and school parking lots. The bulk of particulate matter in our air comes from vehicle exhaust pipes.
When you come to the school for any reason, please turn off your vehicle if you’ll be waiting more than 10 seconds. Idling does not save fuel. Restarting a car takes as much fuel as it would idling for 10 seconds.
If necessary, dress warmer when you go to pick up your child. That way you can remain comfortable without the vehicle’s heater.