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Air quality advisory: strategies to keep us safe

This weekend all of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley had an Air Quality Advisory in place, due to high concentrations of fine particulate matter. These particulates in the air were primarily due to smoke from wildfires burning both in nearby regions within BC, and from wildfires burning in the US.

While yesterday afternoon’s Environment Canada Special Air Quality Statement has predicted that we should see clearing trends through today and tomorrow, we also know that smoke concentrations may shift and vary as the conditions and fires continue to change.

Our district will be closely monitoring the situation to ensure that our schools continue to be safe environments for both students and staff.

As required, our schools and other sites may employ the following strategies to limit smoke exposure:

  • Allowing students who are sensitive to the smoke to remain indoors during lunch or other breaks,
  • Exterior doors and windows may be closed where needed, utilizing our filtered ventilation systems at maximum capacity to provide the cleanest air possible (ventilation system overviews can be found on our website here: https://newwestschools.ca/protocols-and-practices-health-and-safety-measures-for-the-2022-23-school-year/),
  • Rescheduling outdoor activities, particularly for strenuous activities like PE, and
  • Closely monitoring students with asthma or other breathing conditions.

Students or staff with pre-existing medical conditions should take extra precautions until the Air Quality Health Index has improved.

Please also ensure that all students have water bottles and are well hydrated, as drinking lots of water is recommended by the BC Centre for Disease Control as a one way to protect yourself against the possible impacts of wildfire smoke (benefits of drinking water include soothing potentially sore throats and reducing possible inflammation). Lists of other health related symptoms and strategies can be found here: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/prevention-public-health/wildfire-smoke

For more information on current air quality, visit www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/air.

 

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