Wildfire smoke sparks air quality advisory, PUSD sports cancelled

A screenshot at 4:28 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19 from map.purpleair.com, which tracks and aggregates air quality data from its network of air quality monitors.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued an air quality advisory for Tuesday and Wednesday because of smoke coming into the region from wildfires further north in California and Oregon.

Skies above Piedmont were visibly hazy by Tuesday afternoon.

Also on Tuesday afternoon in an email to district families, Piedmont Unified wrote that school sports would be cancelled for the remainder of the day per district policy, because the air quality index reported by Airnow.gov exceeded 100.

The AQI has reached 104, therefore, per the guidelines set forth by the California Department of Education, all strenuous PE activities and athletic programs are cancelled for today, September 19th. 

We will continue to monitor the AQI the rest of the week and will keep you updated when the AQI reaches above 100.

An email to families earlier this semester outlined the district policy regarding poor regional air quality per Board Policy 3514 and the Alameda County Office of Education:

District staff monitors the air quality utilizing the Bay Area Air Quality Index Management District ( BAAQMD) as a resource. When Piedmont’s Air Quality Index (as measured by BAAQMD) ranges from:

– 101-150 (orange zone), all PE classes are to be held indoors and all strenuous PE activities and athletic programs are canceled.

– 150, all PUSD employees will be offered and encouraged to use respirator masks when working outdoors.

– 200+ (very unhealthy), the Superintendent shall confer with the Board of Education and the Superintendent for the Alameda County Office of Education to determine if a school closure is warranted.

– 200+, no PUSD employees shall work outdoors.

According to the air district, anyone who smells smoke is advised to stay inside with windows and doors closed and to set air conditioning units and car vent systems to re-circulate to stop outside air from coming inside, according to the air district.

People can find a map of the latest air quality readings in their part of the region by visiting https://fire.airnow.gov/.

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