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Air Quality Monitoring Information

Learn About Current Practices, Guidelines

Article Date: Sep 07, 2021

Wildfire smoke in our area may have an impact on students' outdoor activities. We are closely monitoring air quality and are in regular contact with our agency partners during wildfire season to help guide our decision making around school sponsored, student activities taking place outside.

During notable smoke events, windows and doors will remain closed and air handlers, with MERV-13 (medical grade) filters, will run.

Bend-La Pine Schools staff regularly monitor the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Air Quality Monitoring Data and do regular visual inspections of outside air quality to determine outdoor activity levels for students, per the Oregon Health Authority’s Public Health Guidance for School Outdoor Activities During Wildfire Events.

Once school begins, decisions about outdoor activities, including sports, recess, PE, and lunch will be made throughout the day, using the OHA guidelines mentioned above.

No news is good news and means air quality is acceptable for outdoor play.

Our high school Athletic Directors, Activities Directors, coaches and support staff are communicating with families with students participating in OSAA activities regarding these health guidelines. Coaches will notify families if any changes are made to games or practice times and schedules. Decisions regarding games will be made daily as necessary. Changes to OSAA-sanctioned high school game schedules will be posted on their website.

Watch for symptoms

Wildfire smoke can make asthma symptoms worse and can trigger asthma attacks. Symptoms of asthma include coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness. Even students without known asthma can have symptoms when exposed to unhealthy levels of wildfire smoke pollution.

Students with asthma should follow their Asthma Action Plan. This will help them decide if they need to take special precautions while engaging in outdoor activities. Athletes with asthma should have rescue inhalers readily available. Use should be as directed by their health care provider. Anyone experiencing symptoms should contact a healthcare provider. Call 911 in an emergency.

What guidelines do Bend-La Pine Schools follow during wildfire events?

We use the Oregon Health Authority’s Public Health Guidance for School Outdoor Activities During Wildfire Events to guide our decision making. You can download and view it here:

Where can I find more information about fires and smoke in Central Oregon?

We follow the Central Oregon Fire Information blog for an ‘insiders look’ at what is happening in our region. This blog is cooperatively maintained and posted by those Central Oregon agencies involved in emergency response, to serve the communities’ information needs.

We also regularly check into the Department of Environmental Quality’s Air Quality pages.

And we like these FAQ’s from the Department of Environmental Quality about how to read the Air Quality Index

How is Bend-La Pine Schools monitoring outdoor air quality?

District staff will be monitoring DEQ’s current Air Quality Index readings regularly before and during the school day when smoke is present in the Bend, La Pine and Sunriver areas. If the current outside Air Quality Index registers as Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups, Unhealthy or Very Unhealthy/Hazardous, building administrators will be contacted.