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Today, a national system reports daily air quality. The Air Quality Index (AQI) tracks the most common air pollutants controlled under the Clean Air Act.
All schools should monitor their local air pollution daily. It’s easy to do. Check www.airnow.gov/ for color-coded ratings in your area.
Help students breathe easier at school with an action plan for high pollution days. During red and orange days, schools should:
Share information about the link between outdoor air pollution and asthma during staff in-service, student asthma education programs and parents’ night.
When school administrators, parents and students all know about the effects of air pollution, they can work together to better manage risks and symptoms.
Many communities are exposed to pollution. Nearby factories and power plants can release harmful chemicals into the air. Diesel exhaust fumes, agricultural burning, crop dusting and forest fires can make breathing difficult for all students. Schools should monitor local health departments and air pollution control agencies.
It’s best for each child to learn how to minimize their exposure to outdoor air pollution. For kids with asthma, an asthma action plan lists their known triggers. Activities and exposure can be adjusted on high pollution days. For students with asthma symptoms, schools can help confirm triggers and share info with parents.
Here are some helpful materials from the American Lung Association:
Originally published 6/7/2016; Revised 2021, 2023
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