Antioch schools remain closed Friday due to “extreme poor air quality”

Air quality in the San Francisco Bay Area showing Antioch in the orange zone as of 7:00 AM, Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. From AIRNow.gov.

The following message was posted on the Antioch Unified School District’s website on Thursday:

“This is Stephanie Anello, Superintendent of the Antioch Unified School District with an important safety announcement. We have been monitoring the air quality throughout the day. Once again, given the extreme poor air quality due to the recent, ongoing wildfires, schools will be closed tomorrow Friday, October 13th. Although the air appeared to be less toxic than predicted today, it is forecasted to be, once again, unhealthy tomorrow. Due to living in the Bay Area, our micro-climates are dynamic and air quality is always changing. Additionally, although some fires may have improved containment levels, this does not necessarily equate to different levels of toxic pollutants in the air that can reach our children. Please know that your child’s safety was the primary factor leading to this decision. Many of our students walk or ride their bike to and from school and will be exposed to the poor air quality even if we were to remain open and shelter in place. We regret any inconvenience this may cause you but, again, your child’s safety is our number one concern.

Thank you, as always, for your continued support of our schools and our District as we work to ensure your child’s health is not compromised in any way.  Our thoughts remain with the victims of this tragedy as well as with the firefighters and other first responders.”

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website the air quality in the Antioch area is designated with an orange color which is “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.” It further defines that category as “Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is not likely to be affected.”

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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