ASD Memorandum on How District Monitors Air Quality


To: Ashland School District Staff
From: Karl Kemper, Athletics & Activities Director
CC: Kelly Raymond, ASD Superintendent
Date: August 30, 2017
Re: Air quality guidelines and procedures for outdoor activity
The health and safety of our students is our highest priority. Therefore, a team of district representatives has been assembled to help guide decision-making regarding our response to smoke and air quality issues. Depending upon specific circumstances and changes in air quality, this group will develop safe responses, as necessary. We will be following the guidance provided by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), which recommends a two-pronged approach to making the decision whether or not to let students engage in outdoor activity, stated as, “Check the local Air Quality Index (AQI) online ( AND do a visual inspection outside. Compare the AQI and visibility test to determine the air conditions in your community.”

The AQI readings that are reported on the DEQ website are measured at the site of the downtown Ashland Fire Department. It is important to note that the conditions tend to vary, at times widely, in different parts of town and from school to school. We will monitor and report out the hourly AQI to your front office at different times during the day, while the site administrator or their designee will execute the visibility test for their campus. We will always err on the side of caution, keeping students indoors if both prongs (current AQI reading and on-site visibility inspection) are not at an acceptable level.  

There has been some understandable confusion interpreting the information on the DEQ website. When checking the map on this site, click on the Ashland circle to get more detailed data. It will then show a current hourly reading and a cumulative 24-hour reading.
Following the advice of the Ashland Fire Department, we will:
  • Use the current hourly reading to guide our decisions about relatively shorter outdoor activities, such as recess and Physical Education classes.
  • Use the 24-hour reading to guide our decisions about longer, more strenuous after school activities, such as athletic contests.
Following the OHA recommendations from their “Public Health Guidance on Outdoor Activity During Wildfire Events” document (, our district standards for outdoor activity are as follows:

Moderate--51 to 100 AQI/Visibility 5 to 15 miles (YELLOW):
Recess (15 minutes): It is a good day for students to be active outside. Watch students who are unusually sensitive to air pollution for symptoms of shortness of breath or coughing.

PE (1 hour): Watch students who are unusually sensitive to air pollution. Look for symptoms of shortness of breath or coughing. Monitor symptoms and reduce or cease activity if symptoms arise.

Unhealthy for sensitive groups--101 to 150 AQI/Visibility 3 to 5 miles (ORANGE)
Recess: It is an OK day for students to be active outside. Allow students who are unusually sensitive to air pollution to stay indoors if they’d like. Sites will need to provide alternative indoor activities for students identified as sensitive to pollution, those students who choose to stay inside because of the air quality, and those students whose parents request they not go outside on these days.

PE: Move activities for students sensitive to air pollution indoors. Limit other students to light outdoor activities or move them indoors. Increase rest periods and make substitutions. Monitor symptoms and reduce or cease activities if symptoms arise.

Unhealthy--AQI 151+/Visibility 3 miles or less (RED/PURPLE)
Move all activities indoors!


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