CUHSD air quality: What happened?

By: Kaylee Flores, Editor-in-Chief

On Fri. Nov. 16, CUHSD Superintendent Robert Bravo addressed a petition that was made on the website by Leigh High School senior Christine Kim. Kim expressed her concern for when the air quality index reached nearly 200 since it didn’t seem safe for students to come to school. San Jose State University, San Francisco State University, and other schools in the bay area had closed their campus for a day or two due to the air. However, the CUHSD district chose not to.

School still wasn’t cancelled despite the air quality index reaching 197 and the petition receiving over 5,000 signatures. According to the Santa Clara County Office of Education’s Air Quality Guidelines, the district won’t consider cancelling classes until the air quality index reaches 275 which is considered very unhealthy.

Our students and their safety are most important and it is our desire that students throughout the county have a safe place and refuge from the current air quality, students are safer and better served indoors within our schools,” said County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Mary Ann Dewan.

Despite it being recommended to reduce activities outdoors, many students still had to walk and bike to school with these unhealthy conditions. Even if they had wanted to avoid the strain to their lungs, many stores had sold out of air filter masks very quickly between Nov. 15 and Nov. 16.

“My parents didn’t want me walking home or doing anything…I wore a respirator to school,” said Michael Webster, senior.

In Bravo’s email, he stated that if a parent chose to allow their student to be absent because of the air, then the absence would be excused.

“It is my goal to keep schools open when possible because schools provide safe shelter and food to many students who may not have these things otherwise,” claimed Bravo in the mass email he had sent out to the district.

Many students utilized the opportunity to miss school to avoid breathing the unhealthy air and stay at home instead.