School announces plans to remain open despite air pollution, Fall playoff games rescheduled

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Update Nov. 18, 5:53 p.m.:District officials have confirmed that school will resume on Monday

Update Nov. 17, 5:59 p.m.: School will be in session on Monday unless the local Air Quality Index reaches a score of 200 or higher by Sunday afternoon, in which case the district will consider closure, according to MVLA Communications Manager Cynthia Greaves. Greaves said that the district will continue to monitor local air quality and will notify district members of any change in the schedule. 


Update Nov. 15, 11:18 p.m.: The MVLA district announced at 11 p.m. that school will be closed tomorrow. According to the statement, diminishing air quality has prompted several school districts in Santa Clara County to close schools on Friday, Nov. 16, including MVLA, Mountain View Whisman and Los Altos school districts.

If students prefer not to be home alone, the libraries at both Los Altos and Mountain View high schools will be open and supervised with staff for MVLA students from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m, according to the district statement.

Update Nov. 15, 10:50 p.m.: The Mountain View Whisman School District has closed all K-8 schools for Friday Nov. 16 only, citing the Air Quality Index score rising to “very unhealthy” levels. MVWSD tentatively plans to reopen schools for Monday Nov. 19, according to the district website.

This morning, all Santa Clara County K-12 public school superintendents agreed that schools will remain open despite the Bay Area’s compromised air quality due to wildfires, according to MVLA Superintendent Jeff Harding. The Santa Clara County Department of Health supported the decision as well, Harding said.

Some local high schools and colleges have canceled classes, including Foothill and De Anza colleges and St. Francis High School. In addition, a change.org petition created three days ago calling for Bay Area schools to temporarily close has reached over 100,000 signatures.

According to Harding, closing schools presented no clear benefit to students, who remain indoors during class time and have the option to remain indoors during lunch, breaks, or free periods. In addition, Principal David Grissom said students can choose to stay home if they have respiratory problems, though he said the school has not experienced a spike in absences.

closing schools presented no clear benefit to students, who remain indoors during class time and have the option to remain indoors during lunch, breaks, or free periods

“Closing school is extremely disruptive, and there would need to be a compelling benefit to student health,” Harding said.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District lists Mountain View’s current air quality as “unhealthy,” with a score of 194 on the Air Quality Index.

As a result, the school has encouraged students to stay indoors during break and lunch periods. Students can also acquire respiratory masks, donated by a parent, in Marivic Cagatao’s office.

Despite these precautions, many students remained outdoors during break periods. In addition, several students have biked or walked to school under the current air quality conditions.

Senior Ethan Liu, who lives in San Jose, said he biked for 25 minutes from the Mountain View Caltrain station to school this morning, as it was his only viable option. Liu said that it was “hard to breathe” especially today with the worsening pollution.

The school has also limited outdoor activities, including athletics, physical education classes, and outdoor after-school activities.

Physical Education teachers held classes indoors today and will do so for the remainder of the week. If Mountain View’s AQI score goes beyond 150, students will likely not engage in any strenuous physical activity, Grissom said.

Cross-country, football, and winter sports have been heavily impacted, with nearly all practices canceled and upcoming games delayed.

“From an athletic standpoint, it’s tough,” Athletic Director Shelley Smith said. “It’s hard to stay motivated in a situation like that.”

The Central Coast Section announced today that fall playoffs have been rescheduled for this weekend and have been moved further south, due to poor air quality throughout Northern California.

The Central Coast Section announced today that fall playoffs have been rescheduled for this weekend and have been moved further south, due to poor air quality throughout Northern California

CCS is scheduled to hold the Cross Country Championship Sunday, Nov. 18 at Toro Park in Salinas.

Mountain View football has rescheduled their first playoff game against Burlingame for Saturday, Nov. 17 at Watsonville High School.

For winter sports, the boys basketball Friendship game scheduled today against Lynbrook has been canceled.

School administration said they will continuously monitor the air quality in our area to provide additional updates or potentially reassess decisions.

“We have all been troubled to see the loss of life, homes and communities in our state,” Harding said in a statement released today. “While we send our empathy to those suffering directly, we are also mindful of the need to take care of ourselves and children.”

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Nisha Malley

Nisha, a senior in her third year of Oracle, is the Editor-in-Chief. She enjoys producing music, reading and sleeping in her nonexistent free time. In the future, Nisha would like to be an underpaid journalist struggling to pay rent in New York and start a small business.

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