Kamloops News

Kamloops elementary students to stay inside due to poor air quality

Students at Kamloops elementary schools will be staying indoors when the city's air quality health index rating reaches a seven or higher according to the school district.

KAMLOOPS - As long as the smokey haze from forest fires sticks around Kamloops, elementary school kids will be kept inside.

Kamloops-Thompson School District spokesperson Robert Koopmans says in a news release due to poor air quality, children in elementary school will be kept inside when the air quality health index reaches seven or higher.

A seven on the index indicates a high health risk to those vulnerable to poor air quality like elderly people and children.

Health Canada says those with health or breathing problems when the index reaches a seven or higher, and that children should take it easy.

"To ensure children do not engage in strenuous activities at unstructured times such as recess and lunch hours, the district has decided it is in the best interest of students to keep them inside," Koopmans says.

The school district acknowledges the importance of regular physical activity, but Koopmans says the risks associated with strenuous outdoor activities during poor air quality means the district must act to protect its students.

This direction will not apply to the school district's secondary schools, but principals, teachers and students are advised to follow Health Canada guidelines.

Since air quality isn't measured in rural communities, principals of schools outside of Kamloops are advised to "use their judgement and their senses" to assess the air quality to the best of their ability.

Koopmans says if in doubt, principals will be asked to keep students inside during "unstructured play times."

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