Risk of Potential Lockdown Due to Poor Air Quality

By: Caleb Rippee 

As fires run rampant across the state of California, air quality has severely worsened. Students and teachers alike are wondering if schools will be forced to temporarily shut down, and return to virtual learning.

It’s unfortunately no surprise that the destructive wildfires have returned to California this year. One wildfire in particular, the Dixie fire, is the second largest in California history. Along with the Dixie Fire, The Monument Fire, and the Caldor Fire have brought massive amounts of smoke. People are beginning to wonder if virtual learning will be brought back, due to poor air quality.

It doesn’t help that students and teachers are required to wear masks, which can cause more breathing difficulty; especially for people with asthma and other respiratory conditions.

With all that has happened due to COVID-19, shutting down schools is seeming more and more appealing; despite just coming back from distance learning. Both students and teachers have their own opinions on the current situation, and what the future may hold in terms of virtual learning.

This is not the first time that schools have been threatened with poor air quality, it has become an almost annual occurrence over the last several years. And it consistently causes schools to close down until air quality levels improve. 

It appears that history is yet to repeat itself, as pollution levels are not expected to exceed federal health standards, according to Bay Area Air Quality Management District officials. Despite this however, it is recommended that residents stay inside and avoid exposure if the smell of smoke is present. 

ABC7 News reported “When the smell of smoke is present, residents should avoid exposure and stay indoors with windows and doors closed until the smoke subsides, if temperatures allow”

Some students at Benicia High School are beginning to have concerns over whether or not the smoke will get worse, and some even are hoping to return to virtual learning because of the smoke.

When asked about his thoughts on possibly returning to virtual learning, Jayden Miller (11) said: “I would like that a little bit, I kind of like being alone when doing school, it’s better to focus.” Miller proceeded to say that he “would prefer” virtual learning.

Another student, Shea Dunn (11), was asked what he thought about the current smoke situation, compared to the smoke California received last year. Dunn stated: “I think it’s better than last years, because last year we had that day that was orange.” Dunn later commented that he would also prefer virtual learning.

As the wildfires continue to burn large parts of California, we can only wait to see what the future holds.

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