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Wildfire smoke puts outdoor events on hold for some Michigan schools

 hazy sun in a blue sky
Jodi Westrick
Michigan Radio

Some schools in Michigan are moving outdoor events inside for the rest of the week in response to unhealthy air quality across the state.

Michigan is one of many states plagued by smoke from ongoing wildfires in Canada.

Jon Dean, the superintendent for the Grosse Pointe Public School System, said his district's schools were quick to move activities indoors.

"Schools are used to making quick decisions. You know, we have to do it all the time for snow days or ice days. So, we're used to making those decisions," said Dean. "Many school activities can be shifted indoors if necessary. And of course, we can always delay things if necessary. But we are always going to keep kids safe first."

Dean said they were lucky to complete the last outdoor graduation on Wednesday, but activities like recess and field day have been moved indoors or rescheduled.

"Most of those events, we are able to reschedule to next week. Currently, the air quality looks much better next week. So our hope is to be able to reschedule those, and that way students will still get to do all those great, fun things that are important things in a school setting, but they'll get to do them safely next week outdoors," said Dean.

In the case of air quality concerns persisting after the school year ends, Dean said most summer learning programs are held indoors anyway.

Dean also said families in his district can access additional summer programming for students to be safe inside if poor air conditions re-emerge.

Priya Vijayakumar started her Newsroom Internship in January 2023. She is interested in science/health reporting and making the facts more accessible to all!
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