How local schools deal with unhealthy air quality

CBS47 News

CENTRAL VALLEY, Calif. (KGPE) – As wildfires continue to burn, the Central Valley’s poor air quality is affecting what people decide to do with their day.

“The last two days have been pretty bad,” said park visitor Riana Castaneda. “We only got about 10 minutes left out here, then we’re heading back in.”

Monday’s smoke is also impacting learning in schools.

Fresno Unified Assistant Superintendent for Student Engagement Bryan Wells says they consistently monitor the air quality.

“Its fluid, it’s on an hour-by-hour basis,” Wells said.

Fresno Unified canceled games and practices for several sports on Monday. At elementary schools, they had a schedule similar to a rainy day schedule.

“They are inside the entire day with the exception of going to lunch, if they have to walk outdoors,” Wells said.

Changes were made at Clovis Unified, with some outdoor activities canceled because they were earlier in the day.

“For our high schools, they’re on restricted practices,” said the school district’s Kelly Avants. “Some of them have gone indoors to strategize and learn plays.”

Madera Unified School District is also feeling the impact.

“Days like today, we have no outdoor activities,” said Madera Unified’s Director of Athletics Marty Bitters. “Kids can’t go out for recess, they can’t go out for lunch. We have to make alternative plans for lunch. We cancel all of our outdoor practices and the coaches have to find a way to get it done indoors.”

As schools move activities inside and as residents in the area decide to stay indoors, Madera County Public Health Director Sara Bosse is asking people to be mindful of their decisions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“If you have an activity that’s outdoors and you’re wanting to avoid the smoke, which you should, moving it indoors, you need to consider those important factors about risk. If people can’t wear masks, if they’re going to be close together, if they’re unvaccinated, those are events that you might want to consider postponing instead of just moving inside,” Bosse said.

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