Q: How will decisions about restricting outdoor activities due to poor air quality be made?

A: The key reference point will be the two sensitive and rigorously maintained Department of Ecology monitors located in Winthrop and Twisp. During periods of poor air quality, school administrators will reference the Air Quality Index (AQI) as reported from these monitors (available conveniently and free of charge through the Methow Air app), as well as other local air quality sensors, in order to evaluate current conditions. Based on this information, administrators will make decisions regarding the amount of time students will be allowed to spend outside.

Q: What are the guidelines for restricting outdoor activities?

A: When AQI values exceed 150, MVSD students will not be outdoors for any extended period of time: we will not conduct class outdoors, eat lunch outdoors, or have outdoor extracurricular activities. With AQI values between 100 and 150, outdoor activities will be permitted on a limited basis, though athletic activities will not take place outdoors. Students will still be allowed to spend time outside, but with reduced duration and intensity of activity.

Q: How and when will parents be notified when outdoor activities are cancelled or restricted?

A: Parents will receive notification of the cancellation of events such as athletic practices and competition, school trips, and club activities. Knowing the challenges around adapting schedules and and/or arranging alternative transportation for students, MVSD administrators will make these decisions no later than lunchtime on the day in question, with more lead time provided when possible. Look for emails through Skyward to announce cancellations. Given the importance of flexibility and the unpredictability of weather patterns and resultant air quality, restrictions on activities (for example, moving recess or practice indoors) may not be announced in the same fashion but decisions about such restrictions will be made according to the guidelines outlined above.

Q: What steps has MVSD taken to protect indoor air quality when outside air is unhealthy?

A: The MVSD has distributed purifiers with HEPA filtration throughout our buildings, ensuring that there is at least one in every classroom and activity space. Building air purification has been meaningfully improved with the installation of MERV 13 filters (the gold standard for addressing fine particulates) in our HVAC system. During periods of unhealthy outdoor air, doors and windows throughout our buildings will remain closed and indoor air quality will be routinely monitored to ensure student safety and well being.