Schools & Air Quality: Here's A Sample Action Plan

We’ve had a series of unhealthy air days this week, and I’ve been trying to raise awareness among the schools to have a good action plan. I was just emailed a nice example of what one local school is doing with each cutoff. I think the actions are reasonable and a good start for other schools to model. Here is their plan:

API Air Quality Description Grade Color Measure to be Taken
0 – 50 Excellent 1 Green Daily activities not affected
51 – 100 Good 2 Green Daily activities not affected
101 – 150 Slight Pollution 3A Yellow Daily activities not affected. Students with respiratory problems can, with parent permission, be ‘excluded’ from active participation in PE and/or to remain indoors during break. Teachers report any signs of respiratory unwellness in children to the nurse immediately.
151 – 200 Light Pollution 3B Orange Daily activities not affected. Students with respiratory problems can, with parent permission, be ‘excluded’ from active participation in PE and/or to remain indoors during break. Teachers report any signs of respiratory unwellness in children to the nurse immediately.
201 – 250 Moderate Pollution 4A Orange
251 – 300 Moderate-heavy Pollution 4B Red
  1. All PE lessons will be modified and carried out indoors.
  2. Students will be allowed outside to play during breaks but will not undertake strenuous activities. Students will also have the option of staying indoors in the library, art rooms or computer labs, especially students with respiratory problems.
  3. All ASAs will be modified so that students do not partake in strenuous activity.
  4. Any school outdoor community event will be modified.
  5. Teachers report any signs of respiratory unwellness in children to the nurse immediately.
  6. Outdoor school based activities held in Beijing will be modified. Outdoor school based activities held out of Beijing go ahead as planned.
> 300 Heavy Pollution 5 Purple
  1. All PE lessons will be modified and carried out indoors.
  2. Students will remain indoors during break time in line with the inclement weather procedures.
  3. All field trips that involve any sort of physical activity will be postponed.
  4. All outdoor ASAs will be cancelled.
  5. Any outdoor community event will be cancelled.
  6. Teachers report any signs of respiratory unwellness in children to the nurse immediately.
  7. Outdoor school based activities held in Beijing will be cancelled (this does not refer to interschool sporting events).  Outdoor school based activities held out of Beijing to be decided upon on an individual basis.

More Data For Parents

My previous post listed a couple great American Academy of Pediatrics reports that people should read, and print out and use in discussions with your schools. I also have a few reports from the New England Journal of Medicine, which provide excellent research showing that air pollution can harm children’s health. All can be accessed full-text or PDF for free within China:


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