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Posted: September 13, 2020

Good evening,

As you are aware, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools and most of BC is under an air quality advisory due to wildfire smoke from active fires in Washington and Oregon. I have been communicating with our local Medical Health Officer and the school district has been closely monitoring the situation. The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is expected to be 7 on Monday, September 14, which is categorized as a ‘high health risk’.

This means that for the:

•   General population – ‘Consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if you experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation’.

•    At-risk population* – ‘Reduce or reschedule strenuous activities outdoors. Children and the elderly should also take it easy’.

For AQHI 7 and above it is recommended to:

•   Keep exterior windows and doors closed.

•   Allow students who are sensitive to the smoke remain indoors during lunch/breaks.

•   Reduce strenuous activities outdoors and ‘children and the elderly should also take it easy’ when outdoors.

For AQHI 10+ it is further recommended:

•  ‘children and the elderly should also avoid outdoor physical exertion’.

While staying indoors may run counter to the recommendations for COVID-19, other COVID-19 health and safety control measures (Learning groups, physical distancing, cough/sneeze etiquette, hand hygiene, daily health checks, etc) in place in schools will continue to provide protection for staff and students. Also, our HVAC systems have filtration that allows us to maintain fresh air while also removing particulates.

Kind regards,

Scott Saywell, Superintendent