Valley School Districts Monitoring Air Quality

Fraser Valley – As you could expect, Fraser Valley School Districts are monitoring air quality. The smoke will dissipate this week, but today may be tricky.

With a 30% chance of showers later in the day and the winds shifting, the air will eventually improve.

Until then:

From the Chilliwack School District:

AIR QUALITY:  The District Team has been monitoring the Air Quality Index in the Fraser Valley over the weekend.  There continues to be an advisory in place for Monday.  The recommendation is to limit smoke exposure for staff and students, recognizing some individuals have different vulnerabilities as outlined in the Air Quality advisory. Limiting smoke exposure involves remaining indoors, ideally in climate controlled environment, and closing doors and windows. Outdoor activities, particularly strenuous activities are not recommended. We will continue to ensure that our HVAC and air filtration systems are circulating fresh air throughout our buildings. The updated Air Quality Advisory on the Environment Canada website indicates that, “smoke levels on Monday are expected to be lower.”   We will continue to monitor the situation.

From the Abbotsford School District:

As you are no doubt aware, our region currently has an air quality advisory in effect due to wildfire smoke from active fires in Washington and Oregon. Our school district has been closely monitoring the situation. We have been in consultation with the Ministry of Education and our local Medical Health Officer to ensure that our schools continue to be safe environments for our staff and students.

At the advice of our local Medical Health Officer, our schools will limit smoke exposure for staff and students by: 

  • Allowing students who are sensitive to the smoke to remain indoors during lunch/breaks;
  • Closing exterior doors and windows;
  • Rescheduling outdoor activities, particularly strenuous activities like PE;
  • Closely monitor students with asthma or other breathing conditions; and
  • Closing doors and windows and utilizing filtered ventilation systems during the health warning.

Our schools will continue implementing several layers of protective COVID-19 infection control practices, including:

  • daily health checks;
  • hand hygiene;
  • learning groups/cohorts;
  • respiratory etiquette; and
  • physical distancing (where possible).

Current until: Wednesday, September 16th, 2020
Posted: Sunday, September 13th, 2020

Environment Canada:

11:19 PM PDT Sunday 13 September 2020
Special air quality statement in effect for:

  • Fraser Valley – central including Chilliwack
  • Fraser Valley – east including Hope
  • Fraser Valley – west including Abbotsford

Smoke is causing poor air quality and reducing visibility. Smoke is expected or occurring.

September 13, 2020

AIR QUALITY ADVISORY

Metro Vancouver is continuing the fine particulate matter advisory that has been in effect since September 8 for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Regional District due to wildfire smoke from outside the region. Wildfire smoke from fires in Washington and Oregon has moved northward into the region and is forecast to impact air quality today.

Smoke levels on Monday are expected to be lower. However, localized smoke concentrations may vary widely across the region as winds and temperatures change, and as wildfire behaviour changes.

Fine particulate matter, also known as PM2.5, refers to airborne solid or liquid droplets with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres (µm) or less. PM2.5 can easily penetrate indoors because of its small size.

Persons with chronic underlying medical conditions or acute infections such as COVID-19 should postpone or reduce outdoor physical activity until the advisory is lifted, especially if breathing feels uncomfortable. Exposure to PM2.5 is particularly a concern for people with underlying conditions such as lung disease, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and/or diabetes, individuals with respiratory infections such as COVID-19, pregnant women and infants, children, and older adults. Individuals who are socially marginalized may also be at elevated risk.

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