The Bonar Street headquarters of the Berkeley Unified School District. Photo: Kaia Diringer

The following message, entitled “Air Quality and ‘Red Flag’ Update,” went out to Berkeley Unified families Wednesday evening. It appears below in full. See also the latest from Berkeleyside.

Dear Berkeley Families,

The air quality as of 4:00 p.m. is considered “unhealthy” for outdoor activities in the Berkeley area, and is worse in many areas to the north. Up to date Bay Area information can be found at the EPA site at

The definition of the “unhealthy” level is that people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. Everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.

We are not planning to close schools at this time. Principals were notified today that our District Nurse advises keeping students inside during lunch and recess, with windows closed. Outdoor athletics and field trips have been canceled for now. We expect similar conditions tomorrow (Thursday).

If you or a member of your family has asthma or other respiratory issues, make sure to follow your doctor’s directions, and seek care in a timely manner if symptoms worsen.

Furthermore, a “red flag” warning has been issued by the National Weather Service for the North and East Bay hills, with highest risk around Mount Diablo, for 11 pm Wednesday evening until 5 pm Thursday.

A Red Flag Warning means that a combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire danger.

Please be sure that you and your family and neighbors are prepared with emergency plans during this high fire risk season. Consult for advice. Many of your plans will also be appropriate for other disasters such as earthquakes. For information specific to Berkeley, see

Take good care of yourselves, Donald Evans, Ed.D. Superintendent

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Berkeleyside staff

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