Schools

Air quality update: Berkeley schools will be open Friday, Oct. 13

The headquarters of the Berkeley Unified School District.

The Berkeley Unified School District will be open Friday. This notice was posted Thursday on the school website, and appears below in full.

Our district schools will be open tomorrow, Friday, October 13. We have discussed the situation with many parents, students, principals, teachers and staff, and taken into account advice from health and air quality experts. We felt it was important to keep our schools open as centers of learning and community, even when times are tough, and do our best to adjust to the situation as it evolves.

We acknowledge there is no perfect answer – closing the schools may leave students isolated and vulnerable, parents scrambling for childcare, and schedules and learning disrupted. Keeping schools open is also challenging, with students, teachers and staff trying to manage their daily lives under the constraints of the current air quality. We know schools to the north of us are closed and schools to the south are open, and the entire region is struggling with the direct and indirect effects of the disaster.

If students need to stay home for health-related reasons due to the air quality, parents/guardians should call to notify the school of the decision, and absences will be excused for illness. (If students are absent for more than three consecutive days, a medical note may be requested for our records, as per state attendance requirements)


We also want to thank and acknowledge our teachers and staff who have been working under strenuous conditions at times, keeping children’s needs at the forefront, including managing having kids indoors for recess, helping students and stepping in with other staff who may have health challenges, and in many cases they may be managing their own health or personal challenges related to this regional disaster.

We will continue to limit our students’ exposure to the outdoor air as much as possible until the air quality improves. We will update you by noon on Sunday about the decision for Monday. Meanwhile you can also check the district website for updates: www.berkeleyschools.net.