The School Flag Program alerts schools to the local air quality forecast and helps them to take actions to protect students’ health, especially those with asthma. Each day the school raises a flag that corresponds to how clean or polluted the air is. During wildfires, when the local air agency issues smoke advisories, the corresponding flag can alert students and the community about how safe the air is to breathe. The color of the flag matches the Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index (AQI): green, yellow, orange, red, and purple.
On unhealthy days, schools can use this information to adjust physical activities to help reduce exposure to air pollution, while still keeping students active. During wildfires, members of the school and the surrounding community can adjust their activities accordingly to reduce their exposure to air pollution. Regular physical activity – at least 60 minutes a day – promotes health and fitness. The purpose of the school flag program is to help children continue to exercise while protecting their health when the air quality is unhealthy or when a smoke advisory is in effect.
The Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District is seeking a school to pilot the program locally. Any school located within the MDAQMD’s boundaries (which consist of the High Desert portion of San Bernardino County and the Palo Verde Valley of Riverside County) may apply for the School Flag Program. After selecting its pilot school, the MDAQMD will provide the site with a set of (5) School Flags, Coordinators Handbook, and resources to AIRNow’s School Flag Program which will provide student activities and educate staff, students, parents, and surrounding community about the program.
The pilot school will be featured in MDAQMD press releases about the program, in the MDAQMD’s newsletter, and on the District’s website. They will also receive a plaque from the MDAQMD Governing Board commemorating their status as the first school to participate in the local Flag Program.
Application to participate in the pilot program must include the completed Pilot School Flag Program Application signed by the school’s Principal and a one page narrative on why their school should be selected for participation as the MDAQMD’s pilot school. Application deadline is March 23, 2017 at 5:00PM.