Return to Headlines

Heat Index and Air Quality

BUSD monitors the weather and air quality throughout each day. Principals, teachers and coaches are notified when levels of heat and poor air quality rise. Modifications to outdoor activity are made following BUSD Board Policy 3514.11, which is based on best industry practices.


Picture of Thermometer 80° - 94° - 10 minute breaks per hour are allowed for water breaks and rest.

95° or higher - additional precautions are taken by limiting practices or outdoor play to short, non- vigorous activity. Prolonged, vigorous activity should be avoided during times of moderate to high humidity.


Air quality standards are set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and guide the BUSD Board Policies determining appropriate actions during poor air quality episodes.

When the air quality index (AQI) is between 101-150, sensitive individuals with Air Quality Gauge respiratory or heart problems may self-regulate their participation in an activity.

AQI of 151-200 is “unhealthy” and everyone should avoid prolonged (more than 10 mins) vigorous outdoor exercise. Less vigorous activities may be continued.

AQI of 201-274 is a Stage 1 Smog Alert and students with heart or respiratory conditions may abstain from physical activity and stay indoors. Modified workouts avoiding strenuous exercise may be implemented.

AQI 275-299 is a Stage 2 Smog Alert and all unnecessary physical activity will be avoided.

AQI 300 or above is a Stage 3 Smog Alert and all schools may be closed with early notification.


Students may be allowed to go outside for lunch and non-strenuous activity at any point up to a Stage 3 Smog Alert unless a decision is made by district administrators. If the determination is made that students should remain inside for heat or air quality reasons, all schools will be notified and will follow the same directive.

Rain, smoke from fires, or high winds may also deter outdoor activity. As it is possible for these events to only affect some schools within the district, the determination to stay indoors may be made by the principal or designee. Principals have the discretion to limit outdoor activity for sudden onset events.


As always, staff should limit activity for students with known health concerns, provide breaks and access to shade or air-conditioned spaces when available, and watch all students for onset of heat illness or breathing difficulty during extreme heat or poor air quality. All principals, PE teachers and coaches are trained annually in prevention and symptoms of heat illness through BUSD’s Heat Illness Prevention Program (HIPP).