Why is air quality important?
Wildfire smoke is a mixture of particles and gases that can be harmful to your health. Smoke can irritate eyes and lungs and can exacerbate chronic respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.
Who is most at risk at Outdoor School for negative health effects of wildfire smoke?
Children, people with asthma or other chronic respiratory disease, and people with cardiovascular disease are most at risk. If your child has respiratory or cardiovascular difficulties, be sure to note that concern in detail on your child’s health form.
What do negative health effects look like?
Wildfire smoke can cause watery or dry eyes, persistent cough, scratchy throat, irritated sinuses, headaches, shortness of breath, asthma attack, or lung irritation. All children at Outdoor School (high school students included) will be continuously monitored for these signs, with particular attention paid to students with respiratory or cardiovascular difficulties. The nurse’s station is equipped with an air filtration system with a HEPA filter to reduce particulate matter. Students who are experiencing negative effects of wildfire smoke can spend time in the nurse’s station with cleaner air until their symptoms subside.
Will the students wear masks?
N95 respirators would be needed to filter smoke particles. Unfortunately they are ineffective when improperly fitted, and can make breathing difficult even when they are properly fitted. Dust masks do not filter smoke particles and offer little protection. As such, students at Outdoor School will not wear masks.
How will you protect the students?
Students will be continuously monitored for negative health effects, and we will keep them well hydrated throughout the day to combat negative health effects. Air quality levels at the closest functioning monitoring station as reported on the Oregon Smoke Blog http://www.oregonsmoke.blogspot.com will be monitored throughout the day. When dangerous air quality levels are reported (or perceived firsthand), outdoor activities will be moved indoors until air quality levels improve.