Air quality shuts down athletic practices

Section playoff football games delayed; cross-country sections might still happen Saturday

John Becker, the Roseville Joint Union High School District executive director of personnel services announced at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday afternoon that all staff and students are to stay indoors as much as possible because of poor air quality as a result of the Camp Fire in Paradise.

The Camp Fire, which started last weekend, has burned more than 135,000 acres and resulted in the deaths of 48 people. More than 200 people are still missing.

According to an email from Becker, the air quality index as measured by the Sacramento Air Quality Control office is fluctuating hourly, and the forecast is for the same or slightly improved conditions over the next two days.

The district has canceled all athletic practices today, Thursday and Friday. All section football games have been postponed to next Friday.  The Sac-Joaquin Section cross country section meet will tentatively be held Saturday, assuming air quality improves, at either the Folsom or Sonora course.

All physical education and other school activities will be indoors, and district campuses will open up areas for indoor eating during lunch. Schools are being encouraged to keep all staff indoors as much as possible, including campus monitors.

In an email to faculty members Wednesday afternoon, Granite Bay High principal Jennifer Leighton encouraged teachers to allow students to eat in classrooms and indoor hallways Thursday and Friday.

Friday is a one-lunch schedule at GBHS, which “should be interesting,” Leighton said.

The school district is not going to purchase masks for students or faculty. If parents keep children home because of air quality, the absence will be excused.

According to Becker, building ventilation systems will prevent most airborne particles from entering classrooms and indoor spaces, but there will be some scent of smoke.

The district is monitoring the air quality index every hour. Antelope High had an “unhealthy for all” rating Wednesday afternoon, and the other schools in the district were “unhealthy for sensitive groups.” There is no district plan to cancel school at any district campus at this time.

This story was updated with comments from principal Jennifer Leighton at 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 14.