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Poor Air Quality Forces Schools to Keep Children Indoors

Poor Air Quality

RICHLAND, Wash. -- School Districts across the region are making significant changes to their daily routines because of the poor air quality in our area.

Tuesday morning, The Richland School District announced it would keep children inside during recess, P.E. and other school related activities because of unhealthy air quality due to smoke.

The District stated: "RSD students will be kept inside during recess and P.E. classes today due to the smoke. In addition, principals have been advised to not have students wait in any lines outside the buildings. It is important that students and staff remain well-hydrated when the air is this bad. Lungs can become dehydrated and that can make it difficult to cough up particles that are inhaled."

The Kennewick School District ushered children into the buildings on Tuesday morning instead of having children wait outside before the first bell.

The District released this statement due to the significant smoke in the are: "We are closely monitoring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air quality advisories in the KSD due to the smoke caused by wildfires.

At this time, the advisory is ranging from “Unhealthy” to “Very Unhealthy/Hazardous” and we will be keeping all students indoors during recess, physical education classes, and lunch.

A determination regarding middle and high school athletic events and practices will be made by the early afternoon.

The safety of students and staff is a priority and we will continue to monitor the air quality advisories regularly and make any adjustments if the conditions improve or deteriorate during the week."

The Pasco School District is also keeping a watchful eye on the situation. A spokesperson for the district released this statement regarding the smoke: "Based on the current air conditions and guidelines from the EPA and CDC, we will not have students wait outdoors this morning before the school day starts. When students arrive at their school this morning, they will be immediately welcomed inside, instead of waiting and playing outside until the first bell rings like many would normally do, especially at the elementary schools.

UPDATE: Following guidelines on air quality from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Pasco School District has decided to keep all students and staff inside for recess, lunch and physical education classes Sept. 5. School leaders said all school-related outdoor activities have also been postponed.

The health and safety of students and staff is the district's highest priority. The district's safety manager will be making contact with the Benton-Franklin Health District this morning to determine if any further steps should be taken. The district will also be evaluating the status of other outdoor activities like recess, athletic practices and games, etc., as the day progresses."

Private schools in our area are also taking significant steps to keep children safe. Christ the King announced it would keep children indoors today and not allow kids on the playground at recess.

This is a developing story and we will continue to update this publication.

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