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Air Quality Protocols

This page was updated September 3, 2021

What source does PAUSD use to make decisions about air quality and our response?

PAUSD uses the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) website,, to monitor air quality. We use this source because it is calibrated and regulated. See a map view of current fire and smoke in the area.

AirQualityRecommendations, CA Interscholastic Federation

Recommendations for school activities based on Air Quality status.

At what point will PAUSD keep students indoors due to air quality concerns?

  • When air quality index levels reach 101-150, "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups," only students with a specific restriction regarding air quality on their PAUSD Health Care Plan will be kept inside during recess, P.E. and lunch. All parents can contact the school office to request their child to stay indoors for recesses and lunchtime.
  • When the AQI levels reach 151- 500, "Unhealthy," "Very Unhealthy," or "Hazardous," we will hold all physical activities inside for all children, including recess, P.E., and lunch.
  • COVID protocols for indoor occupancy and eating are suspended during periods of unhealthy outdoor air quality.

What steps can parents take to support their child during poor air quality?

Parents are encouraged to talk to their children about air quality concerns. Feel free to share these factual official advisories that are published by the Environmental Protection Agency. Being in conversation with your child and referring to facts helps reduce confusion. Other steps parents can take include:

  • If your child has asthma or related health concern, please contact your school site to communicate potential issues.
  • Remind children to drink plenty of water.
  • Remind students to report symptoms including coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and chest tightness. If symptoms occur, your child might need to take a break, do a less intense activity, stop all activity, go indoors, or use quick-relief medicine as prescribed. If symptoms don't improve, consult your physician.
  • Rather than walking or biking to school, children may be transported via public or private transportation.

Under what conditions and when will PAUSD schools be closed due to poor air quality?

The Santa Clara County Office of Education and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) are clear that there exists no established number that would indicate the need to close schools. Our school district will rely on the direction of SCCOE and BAAQMD to determine the need for school closure. Should these two organizations recommend closure, PAUSD will consider closing schools. PAUSD believes students are safer supervised at school than a potentially unsupervised situation at home. PAUSD will not rely on the closure of other area school districts, even those closest to ours, to determine the need to close schools.

To whom should parents and staff direct questions or provide input regarding air quality and school closures?

Site administrators are ready and available to answer any questions regarding Air Quality, school protocols, and safety. Your first step should be an email to your school site administration.