Benicia Unified School District

Superintendent Air Quality Communication, August 18, 2021

Category(s): Latest News

Posted On: August 18, 2021

Dear Families and Staff,

I hope this communication finds you well.   Our students and staff are off to a great school year.  As we continue to monitor COVID-19 cases, we are also monitoring air quality conditions.  With the ongoing fires in California, this could present challenges for school districts once again. Our intent is to focus on being prepared and responsive in the event we would have to make any modifications to school activities, in addition to the possibility of shortening the day or even the need to have to consider school closures.  

Over the past few years, we have learned that it is difficult to make an accurate prediction of the air quality the night before. These major decisions must be made with the best information available, and that information is not always available until the morning.  If we need to shorten a day or cancel school, you will receive notification through ParentSquare, so please be sure you have created your account and your contact information is up-to-date.

Our goal, first and foremost, is to keep students and staff safe and in school whenever possible to ensure uninterrupted learning occurs.  At the same time we recognize that school closures are an inconvenience to families and are very mindful of this as we make these decisions.

To guide our decisions, we use three points of data when monitoring air quality which include: 

  • Our own Purple Air monitors that we purchased, maintain and have placed throughout the District 
  • Air quality data shared with us from the Benicia Fire Department from their measuring instruments used throughout the city

A key safety mitigation component for COVID-19 and air quality in general for schools is the Merv 13 HVAC filter.  We use these filters in our HVAC systems.  The Merv 13 filter is very effective in reducing indoor air concentrations of both wildfire smoke particles and COVID-19 virus-sized particles. (CDPH)    

We will continue to monitor the air quality closely and communicate any modifications should they be warranted.

Thank you for your ongoing partnership as we continue to band together, as a united community, dedicated to providing the highest quality education possible for our students in the safest learning environment possible for all students and staff.  


Charles Young, Ed.D.

On we go!