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california fire

Wildfire forces Washoe County (Nev.) district to cancel classes

Aug. 21, 2020
Heavy smoke from California fires has led to poor air quality in the Reno, Nev., area

For the third time this week, the Washoe County (Nev.) School District has canceled classes because of poor air quality from California fires.

The Reno Gazette-Journal reports that air quality in Northern Nevada remains in the unhealthy range because of heavy smoke from the Loyalton Fire in the Sierra Valley of Northern California.

"Our buildings are not equipped — and indeed it would be unhealthy — to constantly re-circulate the inside air without taking air from outside," the district said."

The first day of classes of the 2020-21 school year was canceled Monday because of the fire. After two days in session, classes were canceled on Thursday, and now, on Friday.

The district has been pumping more air into its buildings as part of mitigation efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus. It is flushing schools with fresh air at the start of the school day and at the end, and all day outside air is constantly circulating.

School officials say they are working with health agencies in deciding whether to close schools over air quality concerns. 

"We are making decisions based upon the smoke in the outside air, and consistently remind our staff and students not to leave windows and doors open where unfiltered outside air can get into the building," the district says.

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