ASD Memorandum on Air Quality for Outdoor Activity

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To: Ashland School District Families
From: Belinda Brown, R.N. District Nurse
CC: Kelly Raymond, ASD Superintendent and Karl Kemper, ASD Athletics & Activities Director
Date: August 30, 2017
Re: Air quality procedures and guidelines for outdoor activity
A team of key district representatives has been assembled to help guide decision-making regarding our response to the smoke/air quality issues. This will be a standing group which, depending upon specific circumstances and changes in air quality will develop safe responses as necessary.  As we have already seen, a number of factors play a significant role in local air quality – wind patterns, storm systems, and rain all can significantly impact visibility and particulate levels in a specific location and can change the effect from hour to hour. We look at the hourly Air Quality Index (AQI) as well as the guidance provided by the Oregon Health Authority’s Public Health Guidance on Outdoor Activity During Wildfire Events and err on the side of caution, which at times may be site specific based on both the AQI, along with current visibility.

Your child’s health and safety are our highest priority. When the AQI is deemed “unhealthy,” we will move outdoor activities indoors. When the AQI is level is “unhealthy for sensitive populations,” we will provide an alternative indoor option for students who are at-risk, along with those children who choose to be inside either because they prefer it or their parents request it.

Children and Air Pollution

Children are particularly susceptible to smoke because their respiratory systems are still developing and they breathe in more air per pound body weight.  Children who may be more sensitive to air pollution include those with:
  • Asthma
  • Respiratory infection
  • Lung or heart disease
If your child has any of these conditions or a significant health condition, please make sure you have notified the school and the district nurse. It is also a good idea to consult with your own healthcare provider regarding any specific precautions your child may need to take.
Wildfire smoke can make asthma symptoms worse and trigger asthma attacks. Symptoms of asthma include coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest tightness. Even students who do not have asthma could experience these symptoms when exposed to unhealthy levels of wildfire smoke pollution.
Students with asthma should follow their Asthma Action Plan when determining whether to take special precautions while engaging in outdoor activities. All students with a diagnosis of asthma, with a prescribed inhaler, should have an inhaler at school. 
For your child’s safety, if they have a prescribed inhaler, it is imperative that you bring it to school and fill out the appropriate paper work to ensure they have access to it if needed.
If you are experiencing any barriers in obtaining a medical provider or renewing or paying for prescriptions, please call the School District Nurse Belinda Brown at 541-482-1611 extension 3105, and assistance will be provided to remove obstacles that might exist.
If you have questions about how the district is monitoring and responding to air conditions, please call ASD Athletics & Activities Director Karl Kemper at 541-484-2377.

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