Memo Regarding School Outdoor Recess Guidelines
Recent reports indicate new guidelines have been released by the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) and Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ) regarding school recess and air quality.
These guidelines were actually released in January 2008. Due to the time of year when air quality is more of an issue, UDOH and UDEQ are currently doing a ‘media blitz’ regarding the guidelines.
These guidelines, based on local research results, were rewritten to not only protect children with respiratory issues, but also allow healthy children to play outside when conditions are appropriate.
As a reminder the new guidelines for going outside are:
When the Particulate Matter (PM2.5) is 35.5 ug/m3- 55.4 ug/m3:
Accommodate “sensitive students” to avoid outdoor physical activities.
When the Particulate Matter (PM2.5) is 55.5 ug/m3- 90 ug/m3:
Accommodate sensitive students and students experiencing respiratory symptoms. Symptoms may include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.
When the Particulate Matter (PM2.5) is above 90 ug/m3:
Recommend indoor physical activities for all students.
“Sensitive students” may include those with:
Significant or poorly controlled asthma, cystic fibrosis, chronic lung disease, congenital heart disease, compromised immune systems, or other respiratory problems.
For more information regarding the guidelines or to use an hourly update tracker of air quality in various parts of the state, go to: http://www.health.utah.gov/asthma/schools/aq_guidelines.html
If you have further questions, ask your local school nurse or local health department or call Linda Able or Catherine Hamilton at the Utah Department of Health, 801-538-9450.