After an air quality index of 174, which is unhealthy for everyone, the Bakersfield City School District canceled all outdoor activities. This means students spent their breaks indoors at school.
Bad air quality is not unusual in Bakersfield. There are frequently days that are unhealthy for sensitive groups, so those kids are used to spending breaks inside. Debbie Wood, Coordinator of School Health and Neighborhood Support Programs for BCSD, says one in eight of their students have breathing issues. She says Tuesday was unique because all students remained indoors the whole day.
"They can do things like put on music in the classroom and dance and they can use the beach ball and toss it around in the classroom. So we have suggestions for things they can do so the kids still get their wiggles out, because they do need to get their wiggles out, but the kids don't want to be out. They don't like sun and the heat either," said Wood.
Valley Air forecasts the air quality for upcoming days. They say typically, the worst times to be outside are from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. when ozone issues are the main concern. However Tuesday, ozone was not the only problem. Wildfires burning also added particulate matter to the air which worsened the air quality, so they suggested avoiding strenuous activities and being outside the entire day.