Update 5:30 a.m: Despite predicting better air Wednesday night, the Washoe County School District will not have in-person instruction on Thursday, Sept. 17. It is the fifth school day in a row that poor air quality has closed schools and the 10th day since schools opened for the fall semester on Aug. 18.
Full message from WCSD
Good morning, this is the Washoe County School District with an important message for our families and staff.
The National Weather Service models are showing that the smoke did not move out of the region and will remain present longer than predicted, causing air quality to be in the unhealthy range. As a result, today, Thursday September 17, will be a full distance learning day. Teachers will be contacting students and families to teach distance learning plans.
School meals will be available today for all students from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and include a one-day breakfast and lunch pack. Families should go to the Nutrition Services Center Central Kitchen Facility located at 585 Spice Islands Ct. in Sparks. All students, free, reduced, or paid, are welcome, and fees will be charged later for paying students. Please provide your students’ names and school.
Families in Incline Village will receive further information about meals available in their area.
To repeat, today, Thursday September 17 will be a full distance learning day.
The Washoe County School District said school may be in person on Thursday. It would be the first day of school since last Thursday.
The district said the National Weather Service is expecting winds to clear the smoke from the region during the day on Thursday.
The district will talk with the National Weather Service at 4 a.m. and make a final decision. If school moves to distance learning, the district will message parents beginning at 5:15 a.m.
All week smoke from the Creek Fire has made the air quality unhealthy in the Truckee Meadows.
The fire, which started on Sept. 4, is burning in central California.
The only full week of school in five weeks was Aug. 31-Sept. 4. The district has canceled in person instruction nine times because of smoke since the school year started.
Full message from WCSD
Good afternoon, this is the Washoe County School District with an important message for our families and staff.
In consultation with the National Weather Service, there is a high degree of confidence that, although there may be smoke in our region tonight, winds are forecast to clear the smoke throughout the day tomorrow, Thursday, September 17. As a result, all students should plan on attending school tomorrow, Thursday, September 17, whether that is in person, distance-learning, or on the hybrid model. Tomorrow’s hybrid schedule is the A schedule.
The school district Emergency Manager will speak with National Weather Service at 4am tomorrow to confirm that the smoke is clearing, as predicted. Families and staff will be alerted starting at 5:15am via a Connect Ed message ONLY if that is not the case. To confirm, families and staff will be informed tomorrow, Thursday September 17 ONLY if dense smoke continues to impact our region and we are having a full distance learning day.
Details on air quality
Good air quality days: Sept. 1, 9
Moderate air quality days: Aug. 17, 18, 26, 31; Sept. 2, 4, 5, 6, 10
Unhealthy for sensitive groups: Aug. 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30; Sept. 3, 7
Unhealthy days: Aug. 19, 20, 21, 22, 23; Sept. 11, 14, 15
Very unhealthy days: Sept. 12, 13
Hazardous: Sept. 8
The 2020-21 WCSD Fall semester to date
Aug. 10-14: The Washoe County School Board agrees to delay the official start to the new school year and allow teachers and school staff to use the time for professional development and training.
Monday, Aug 17: Air quality concerns cancel the first day of school in Washoe County. The district used the day as one of 10 professional development days allowed by the state and added the day on to the five it used the week before.
Thursday, Aug 20: WCSD calls for an emergency closure of schools due to air quality.
Friday, Aug 21: A professional development day was called after smoke caused the district to say schools are unsafe; the air quality index topped 150. It is counted as one of the 10 professional development days allowed by the state. During this day, teachers are told to prepare for full distance learning on Monday.
Friday, Aug 28: WCSD says school buildings are closed because of smoke and launches the first districtwide distance learning day. During a distance learning day, teachers are expected to contact every student and attendance is taken. Students are also required to check in with their teachers.
Aug. 31-Sept. 4: WCSD wrapped up the first five-day school week since schools were closed in March.
Sept. 7: Labor Day
Sept. 8: WCSD calls for a distance learning day amid air quality concerns.
Sept. 11: WCSD calls for a distance learning day amid air quality concerns.
Sept 14: WCSD calls for a distance learning day amid air quality concerns.
Sept. 15: WCSD calls for a distance learning day amid air quality concerns.
Sept. 16: WCSD calls for a distance learning day amid air quality concerns.
Siobhan McAndrew tells stories about the people of Northern Nevada and covers education in Washoe County. Read her journalism right here. Consider supporting her work by subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal.