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Provo students stay indoors due to smoky air conditions

By Sam Penrod, KSL TV | Posted - Aug 19th, 2018 @ 3:22pm


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PROVO — One of the most popular parts of school is recess, but students at one Utah County school had to play indoors on their first day back due to the lingering wildfire smoke along the Wasatch Front.

As the bell rang to start the new school year at Spring Creek Elementary in Provo, Erika Hunter was excited for her first day ever as a school teacher.

“This is my very first day. I have dreamed of being a teacher ever since I was in kindergarten,” she said.

Mrs. Hunter probably never imagined her first day in the classroom would include her second-grade students staying inside for recess.

“It was a yellow flag day which means they can go out, and about an hour into class they said it was a red flag,” she said.

The Provo City School District implemented its air quality plan Wednesday, typically reserved for winter inversions, due to smoky skies.

“With the fires going on, especially the fire in Spanish Fork Canyon, the air quality in Utah County and Provo is worse than it usually is this time of year and so we have implemented that process now, at the schools and district level, monitoring the air quality and using the flag system to let parents know the quality of the air and what that means for students at recess and outdoor activities,” said Caleb Price, with the Provo City School District.

While these air quality procedures were mostly meant for elementary schools, secondary schools also followed them when it came to extracurricular activities after school.

Indoor recess helped to keep all students, especially those with compromised respiratory systems, healthy, due to the smoky skies outside and create a memorable first day for Mrs. Hunter and her second-grade class.

Photo: KSL TV

“The thing that I will remember most will be that I got to spend time with my kids, literally all day. During lunch, I didn’t get a lunch break but got to play with them, so I feel like I really know my kids because of that,” Hunter said.

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