BEND, OR -- Sisters Schools started back a day late, this week, due to the smoky conditions; the rest of the region’s districts are slated to begin next week, but pre-season sports are already underway and feeling the effects of the poor air conditions.
Bend-La Pine Schools Deputy Superintendent Jay Mathisen says Athletic Directors are making changes based on guidelines set by the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA). "We are able to access a local reading for air quality, and based on the measurements and guidance from OSAA, we make decisions on whether we have practice or not, perhaps what types of activities are OK during practice times. And, we’re able to check those conditions pretty fluidly, here, locally." He tells KBND News, "We’ve canceled some contests and we’ve adjusted some activities and practices, and canceled some of those in some of these worst hours that we’ve experienced in the last week. And then, we’re closely monitoring future contests and deciding what to do. We’re able to hold more indoor things than outdoor without adjustment, obviously." The district is tracking changes on its website
Mathisen admits it’s unusual for wildfire season to impact the beginning of the school year, but he says they’ll do what’s needed to keep kids safe. "We’ll take readings three hours apart, during the school day; and if there are air quality concerns, we’ll be notifying our elementary school principals around those concerns and asking them to move recess. And, we’ll also be allowing principals at their site to make some decisions, because sometimes in the northeast part of Bend it’s different than it might be in the southwest part of Bend."
Photo: Local high school cross country teams compete in Prineville, August 26, 2017.