Wildfire Season + Air Quality Mitigation Plans

Wildfire season is underway and growing across our region. As we watch these saddening and scary projections, we want to communicate the SJCC’s plan for managing at various levels of ambient air quality, primarily driven by wildfire smoke.

The SJCC relies on two sets of guidance:

  1. EPA’s Air Quality Index (AQI) 
  2. AirNow.gov’s Air Quality Flag program

The EPA’s AQI designates the various Air Quality levels (image 1 below) and the Air Quality Flag Program (image 2 below) provides guidance for school operations at various air quality levels. The SJCC is using these tools to guide our decisions and operations.

Air Quality Graphic Table

Air Quality Flag Graphic

SJCC OPERATIONS PLAN IN WILDFIRE SEASON

The SJCC will operate as normal through the orange range, up to an AQI of 150. While in the red zone, ECS and J Camp programs will follow the Air Quality Flag Program’s guidance to limit time outdoors and reduce the physical intensity of outdoor activities. In the purple zone, all ECS and J Camp activities will be kept indoors, except for when walking to/from cars and the building. In other words, drop-off and pick-up will run as usual. As purple creeps to maroon, we will communicate our intent to close at an AQI of 301 or higher. Please note that while this is the J’s plan, we recognize families may make personal choices based on individual health conditions, needs, or preferences.

This plan is summarized here.

AQIColorsSJCC Plan for ECS & J Camp
0-150Green/Yellow/OrangeNormal operations
151-200RedLimited outdoor activities
201-300PurpleAll activities indoors
301+MaroonClosure

In summer 2020, we faced a compounded situation—where air quality forced us indoors and COVID-19 mitigation protocols required physical spacing with a strong recommendation to be outdoors. Last month we faced historic heat, again moving us indoors. Early childcare regulations strictly outline safe classroom temperatures, and when our ECS rooms crept toward the threshold, we had to call for an early afternoon closure.

If we face compounding situations like this in the future, influenced by smoke, excessive heat, COVID-19, or another factor, the J will prioritize the safety and health of the people in our care, often children. By definition, this will guide us to adhere to the most restrictive guidance.

We recognize that these extreme conditions disrupt our daily routines and can cause frustration. Our hope is that we can all work together to have a plan to respond to these external influences, so that we’re all more prepared when these upsetting events happen.

Thank you for your partnership.

 

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