Students, school staff in East Bay go home sick due to unhealthy air

Byby Kate Larsen via KGO logo
Friday, November 16, 2018
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Some of the worst air was reported in Berkeley, where the Air Quality Index registered at 334. Schools took notice and canceled school.

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Some of the worst air, according to, was on Solano Avenue in Berkeley, where the Air Quality Index registered at 334 at 6 p.m.

LIST: Schools closed in Bay Area due to Camp Fire smoke

East Bay school districts took notice and canceled school on Friday.

"It's been pretty rough. You remember what it's like to be 10 years old and you wanna get outside and run around," said John Sasaki, Oakland Unified School District's communications director. Along with school districts across the Bay Area, Sasaki says Oakland Unified decided to cancel school Friday because of poor air quality.

"Our staff, they've had some complaints about the same conditions our students are dealing with. We've heard of people having headaches, things like that."

RELATED: Check current Bay Area air quality levels

"With the bad air, they're getting more bloody noses," said Kathy Gin, who is a parent and runs an after school program in Oakland. "They were coughing and they were feeling unwell. I had to call a couple parents for early pick up."

Michael Le is a parent at Lincoln Elementary school in Oakland. He has two young sons he'd like to get back outside. "We are going to look on a map and see if we can go somewhere outside the Bay Area and escape from this."

His son, Conor Le, has been studying the air quality and is not as worried as many Bay Area parents are about what to do on the unplanned day off school. When asked if he was sad that school was closed Friday, he said, "No. I'm real excited."

RELATED: Does wearing a mask when it's smoky outside work?

Now that kids are going to be at home Friday, parents have been asking how to make sure the air inside their homes is safe. Remember to keep windows and doors shut.

Also, many air purifiers have built in air quality monitors. You can also buy separate air quality monitors. There are many for sale on Amazon between $100-$200.

See more stories, photos and videos on the Camp Fire in Butte County.