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Poor air quality forces second day of cancellation for Washoe schools

By Kristen Hackbarth
The Washoe County Health District issued a Stage 3 Emergency Episode Aug. 23, 2021 due to smoke from area wildfires. It was the the first time the district has issued a Stage 3 Emergency Episode. Image of Reno's Vaughn Middle School: Bob Conrad / This Is Reno, Aug. 23, 2021.

Washoe County School District officials canceled school on Tuesday for a second day in a row due to poor air quality caused by nearby wildfires. All schools except for Gerlach K-12 are canceled, and before- and after-school activities will not be held.

The air quality index (AQI) at 5 a.m. Tuesday was 336, which falls within the “hazardous” range.

The Washoe County Health District’s Air Quality Management Division on Monday said residents should expect “very unhealthy” to “hazardous” air quality through Wednesday, depending on weather patterns. After Wednesday the forecast shifts to “unhealthy for sensitive groups” through the weekend.

A Stage 3 Emergency Episode was declared Monday after the AQI remained over 200 for a 24-hour period.

This Is Reno on Monday asked WCSD officials if the district had established an AQI threshold which it would use to determine if classes would be canceled. Officials said they were working on that information but did not provide a response by the end of the day.

To see current air quality in Reno-Sparks,click here.

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