“Dear MCPS Community,
As you may know, unhealthy air caused by smoke from wildfires in Canada’s province of Quebec is affecting much of the northeast and mid-Atlantic areas of the United States, including our area. This influx of smoke has impacted outdoor air quality, which may pose a health risk, particularly to vulnerable individuals such as children, older adults, and those with heart or lung disease.
According to the current air quality forecast for today and tomorrow, fine particles from wildfire smoke may be unhealthy for sensitive groups. While we are not expected to reach the “Very Unhealthy” or “Hazardous” levels, it is important that we take precautions and modify outdoor activities, especially if they involve exercise, such as recess and physical education.
***Therefore, for today (6/7) and tomorrow (6/8), all outdoor recess and other activities will be canceled or rescheduled. Athletics will operate under guidelines similar to heat index warnings, which include reduced outdoor time and increased monitoring of athletes. Field trips may need to be rescheduled or modified depending on the location and extent of outdoor activity. Adjustments could be made to outdoor graduations. Any modifications will be communicated as conditions continue to be monitored.***
We would like to provide families with the following information to be informed about the effects
of poor air quality. Symptoms associated with wildfire smoke particulates may include:
- Chest tightness or trouble breathing
- Itchy or running eyes or nose
- Burning eyes
- Itchy or dry throat, and
- Increased asthma symptoms for those with asthma
It is recommended that individuals in sensitive groups shorten their time spent outdoors and avoid strenuous activity. Wearing a well-fitting mask, such as an N-95 mask, can also help filter out smoke particles and provide additional protection. Keeping windows and doors closed will reduce particulates that enter indoor spaces. At home, make sure air filters are in good condition.
We are sharing this information out of an abundance of caution, with the health and safety of our community members in mind. This temporary air quality situation may raise concerns, and we assure you that we are closely monitoring the outdoor air quality conditions. We encourage everyone to consider their personal health concerns. It is important to be attentive to symptoms, especially when outdoors. Your cooperation and understanding are greatly appreciated.
Montgomery County Public Schools
Featured photo courtesy of the National Weather Service