News

Poor air quality continues locally amid destructive fires in North Bay

SRVUSD schools to remain open Thursday

The air quality in the San Ramon Valley, like the rest of the Bay Area, remains in very unhealthy conditions with smoke inundating the region’s air basin from massive deadly wildfires raging in Napa, Sonoma and Solano counties, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

All San Ramon Valley Unified School District campuses are set to remain open and hold classes as usual Thursday, but precautions will be taken to help curb negative impacts from the smoke in the air, according to district officials.

“While several school districts nearer to the fires have elected to close, we believe keeping our schools open is in our students’ and staff’s best interests. Classrooms are safe places for students. Moreover, cancelling school (Thursday) would be a hardship for many families,” SRVUSD officials said Wednesday.

Officials acknowledged that families have the right to “make decisions that are personally best for them regarding school attendance on Thursday.” As a result, any absence related to air quality will be considered excused.

Precautions at schools Thursday include no outdoor PE classes, lunches being held indoors, shutting all windows and doors, and special considerations for students with respiratory conditions or otherwise impacted by poor air quality.

Officials said they will decide mid-day Thursday whether to cancel after-school athletics and other outdoor extracurricular activities.

As for the local community college, the satellite campus of Diablo Valley College in the Dougherty Valley will be closed on Thursday due to poor air quality.

Meanwhile, several parts of the Bay Area have been included in an expanded Red Flag Warning for most of Thursday, alerting residents of the high fire danger due to forecasted low humidity and gusty off shore winds, National Weather Service officials said.

As of Wednesday evening, areas under the warning include the North Bay Mountains, the East Bay Hills and Diablo Range, the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Santa Lucia Mountains, and the inland mountains in Monterey County. The warning is in effect through Thursday afternoon.

At least 21 people have died and more than 170,000 acres have burned in recent days in 22 major fires throughout the state, according to Cal Fire.

Editor’s note: Information from the Bay City News Service was used in this report.

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