How Utah schools keep kids safe during inversion season

Nov 28, 2023, 5:30 AM | Updated: May 30, 2024, 11:39 am

How Utah schools handle inversion and air quality...

Smog blankets the Salt Lake Valley, as seen from Herriman, on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — An inversion is expected to build this week across the Wasatch Front, and Utah schools may keep students inside if the air quality gets too bad.

School nurses and administrators will monitor daily pollution levels.  Pollution levels will be provided by the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. Faculty can also look at other monitoring websites like Purple Air to assess risk levels in their area.

Then, Utah school districts, like Weber and Alpine, will compare that information to inversion air quality index charts from the DEQ. Combining the two pieces of information will help them determine whether kids may play outside or not.

“Just depending on where that [PM 2.5 level] is at on a daily basis will help us determine whether we need to restrict or even eliminate outdoor activities,” said Lane Findley with the Weber County School District.

According to the air quality index chart from the DEQ, some air quality levels may be safe for certain children but harmful to those with respiratory problems like asthma.

Air quality index chart from the Department of Air Quality. air.utah.gov.

(Air quality index chart from the Department of Air Quality. (air.utah.gov.))

Nurses and school administrators will check those daily PM 2.5 particle levels. After that, they will decide whether to keep all children inside or just those children with breathing issues.

Schools are also prepared to keep all children inside during recess if the temperature gets too low for safe outdoor activity.

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How Utah schools keep kids safe during inversion season