Poor air quality impacting school sports, outdoor activities across DMV

Poor air quality from the Canadian wildfires has school districts across the DMV evaluating outdoor sports and activities for student-athletes and spectators.

Montgomery County Public Schools is reminding families about the dangers and impacts of being outside amid concerning air quality levels. 

They sent an email Tuesday warning that it was a Code Orange day, which means the air quality may have an impact on sensitive groups. That includes people with chronic lung problems, heart conditions and breathing issues.

If and when the air quality becomes Code Red, outdoor activities may be limited and athletics will follow NCAA rules about monitoring of athletes.

The school district says its school system medical officer and operations team monitor the air quality, which has become a point of interest to many as Canadian wildfires have continued.

Invasive cardiologist Dr. Fahmi Farah, MD, explained why it's important for schools to monitor and respond to changes in air quality.  

"It could cause lung injury and for those that have preexisting conditions like asthma, it can exacerbate that and worsen their shortness of breath," Farah said. "The school districts do need to take air quality into consideration for our young folks, like athletes. Perhaps they ought to come up with a plan where the long-duration practice should be done indoors somehow."

FOX 5 also spoke with school districts in northern Virginia about this including Prince William County Public Schools. They say Code Red air quality is what could prompt outdoor activities to move indoors or face cancellation or rescheduling.

Fairfax County Public Schools emailed FOX 5 saying in part, "when conditions warrant a change in operations, we have previously canceled outdoor activities, including recess, physical education activities, sports, marching band practice, mowing operations and outdoor extracurricular and recreation events occurring on our properties."

FOX 5 also reached out to D.C. Public Schools for more information on how they are keeping their student-athletes safe this summer.