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.
Recommendations for Recess based on Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 and Air Quality Index (AQI) Levels:
- PM2.5 above 55.5 or AQI over 150 – All students stay indoors.
- PM2.5 between 35.4 and 55.5 or AQI between 100 and 150 – Students with respiratory symptoms** and sensitive students*** stay indoors.
- PM2.5 Below 35.4 and AQI below 100 – All students stay outdoors.
Check PM2.5 levels at air.utah.gov; click on “Current.”
**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.
Please contact your local school directly if you have any questions.