Air quality has school districts weighing options

Unhealthy air is forcing officials to cancel outdoor activities.

BOISE - The air quality at times on Wednesday reached very unhealthy levels, according to the Department of Environmental Quality.

School districts, for the second straight day, moved recess and all outside practices for sports like football and soccer indoors or canceled them.

“You can't put kids out in air like this and have them exert the way they do playing soccer or football, or really any of our sports,” Eric Exline with the West Ada School District said.

The Boise School District also canceling several boys' and girls' soccer games because of the poor air quality.

It may have some of you looking ahead to the impact it could have on Friday night football.

“We're just like everybody else. We're in the middle of this. We're trying to make the best decisions,” Dan Hollar with the Boise School District said.

Hollar added though no decisions have been made regarding any football games.

“We really are in a state of evaluation right now because of the changing condition,” Hollar said. “We make a decision based on the information provided to us by the air quality experts knowing that we have in our care our students and their health and our staff too.”

School officials say if the air quality stays in either the red or purple, and the Boise School District does have to cancel games, they will look to reschedule.

“There's a variety of factors that come into play," Hollar said. "It's the matter - do we have the officials needed to be able to reschedule? Do we have the facilities needed to reschedule? Have we communicated with the other neighboring districts that we partner with on an ongoing basis? Are they supportive in the effort to look at that?”

In West Ada, they’re looking at switching game days as a possibility.

“We're looking at the possibility of Saturday games," Exline said. "So have to make sure about field availability, have to make sure we can get refs, but they are working on that, that is our contingency plan at this point.”

School officials say if they can’t get a game scheduled for this week, they’ll work to get it rescheduled for later in the year. However, there is always a possibility a game will not be made up as it gets harder when schools have to push things back.

School officials say that’s a worst-case scenario and they work hard to avoid it.

The Department of Environmental Quality has issued a red or unhealthy air quality alert for Thursday.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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