Some Rochester-area schools cancel outdoor activities due to air quality concerns

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Some schools around the Rochester area have canceled outdoor activities because of air quality concerns.

The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation issued an air quality alert on Tuesday for Western New York because of the wildfires around Quebec, Canada. Northernly winds have carried smoke and particulate matter from the wildfires to the region.

Here’s how local school districts are adjusting their activities:

Rochester (RCSD): Due to the poor air quality conditions, we have decided to cancel all outside activities, including outdoor physical education classes, until further notice. To help maintain a safe environment, we ask that all windows remain closed throughout our facilities. This will help prevent outside pollutants from entering our buildings and ensure we have the best possible air quality inside.

Pittsford: Outdoor activities like recess and physical education will be held indoors on Tuesday. 

Brighton: BCSD has decided to hold Physical Education and recess indoors on Tuesday. Students at Brighton High School who utilize outdoors spaces for lunch or an open campus will still be allowed to do so, but are being advised to reduce strenuous activity and to not eat outside if they have asthma or other respiratory conditions.

Brockport: Out of an abundance of caution, students will be kept indoors on Tuesday.

Gates-Chili: The school district will hold physical education classes indoors Tuesday and Wednesday. In addition, all outdoor athletic activities have moved indoors.

Rush-Henrietta: The district has asked all of our schools to keep students inside Tuesday, June 6, including during physical education classes and after school activities.

Greece: We have decided to cancel outdoor activities and field trips scheduled for Wednesday, June 7. Anything planned for indoors will continue as scheduled.

AirNow, an air quality monitoring system run by several government agencies, shows Rochester’s air as unhealthy with a red zone ranking for particulate matter.

Airnow recommends that people with heart or lung disease, along with older and younger people, avoid strenuous outdoor activities. It also recommends that everyone shorten outdoor activities or postpone them until air quality is better.

First Alert Weather In-Depth: Smoke of a distant fire

Canada is experiencing one of its worst wildfire seasons. On Friday afternoon, there were 324 fires burning across Canada. As of Monday morning, that had grown to 413. More than 160 fires have been reported in Quebec including at least 114 that are still out of control.