Wildfires and MCPS Air Quality Protocols

  • MCPS will follow these protocols for determining adjustments to student outdoor activity during periods of poor air quality.

    K-8

    Protocol for determining restrictions on outdoor activity (including recess) for MCPS K-8 schools in the event of diminished air quality in the Missoula valley due to wildfire smoke

    The following resources will be used for updated information on Missoula’s air quality: 

    1. Visit the Montana.Gov Official State Website that provides up to date air quality information statewide.  
    2. Review the DPHHS Recommendations for outdoor activities based on air quality for schools and child care facilities Matrix.

    Review the following:

    • When the Air Quality at the Boyd Park reporting station reading reaches the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” per the air quality matrix, the safety and operations coordinator will confer with the regional directors to heighten awareness of impending unhealthy air quality and make a determination regarding outdoor activity.
    • The safety and operations coordinator will contact school principals and secretaries regarding the possibility of activity restrictions and continue to monitor the air quality.
    • Building principals will plan to implement indoor lunch and recess schedules in the event of cancellation of outdoor activity.  Plans will be developed to cancel or postpone middle school athletic activities.
    • When the Air Quality reaches the “Unhealthy” level per the matrix, the safety and operations coordinator will consult with the regional directors and notify the superintendent and all K-8 building principals that all outdoor activities with be canceled/postponed and /or moved indoors.
    • If the Air Quality reaches the “Very Unhealthy” level, the safety and operations coordinator will consult with the regional directors and notify the superintendent and all principals that both indoor and outdoor games and activities will be canceled/postponed until further notice.
    • Parent notification regarding canceled or postponed middle school athletic events will be sent via the Connect 5 System to communicate with student and staff households by telephone, email, and text.

    High School 

    The same resources will be used for determining appropriate modifications or cancellations to sports practices and competitions. 

    • When the Air Quality at the Boyd Park reporting station reading reaches the "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups" (35-55 µg/m3), the Safety and Operations Coordinator will notify, athletic directors, who will review the game/practice schedules, contact outdoor coaches about the possible impact of diminished air quality and continue to monitor the air quality.  Coaches will make accommodations for athletes who have medical conditions (including asthma) that may be impacted by the air quality.  When the air quality reaches 55 µg/m3, MCPS will have emergency medical support on site for all competitions.
    • Athletic directors will begin to develop an indoor practice schedule for all fall sports.
    • When the Air Quality reaches the "Unhealthy" level (55-150 µg/m3), MCPS will use the 100 µg/m3 as a guidepost to start consideration of canceling, relocating or postponing competition.  All practices will take place indoors.
    • Please note that the Boyd Park readings posted to the website are delayed one hour.  Conditions may change within a short time period as a result of winds and/or radiational heating and cooling.  Line-of-sight visuals per the air quality matrix may be considered when making decisions regarding practices and games should conditions change.

    Terry Phelan