Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

Havre schools move on air quality policy


September 12, 2018

The Havre Public School Board at its meeting Tuesday unanimously approved the first reading of a proposed policy to adjust outdoor activities for students depending on air quality.

Havre High School math teacher Kurt Leeds, who presented the proposal to the board, and Superintendent Andy Carlson said the policy is not mandated but it is recommended.

“We really want to … protect those kids as best we can,” Leeds said.

He said implementing air quality policies is recommended by the National School Board Association and the Montana High School Association, but few districts — Missoula County Public Schools is one — have implemented policies yet.

“Going forward, I would say there will be more and more,” Leeds added.

He said Havre just put in an air quality monitor, giving a chance to better monitor what the air quality is.

Hill County Public Health Director Kim Larson and Havre City-County Airport manager Tony Dolphay this year requested an air quality monitor for Havre, and in August Montana Department of Environmental Quality installed a seasonal or temporary monitor on the roof of the Hill County Courthouse Annex, which houses the health department.

The monitor, which is temporary, was installed at the Hill County Courthouse Annex above the County Health Department.

Carlson said previously the district had to use the closest monitors — the closest are in Malta, Great Falls and Cut Bank at the moment — which made knowing Havre’s air quality essentially a best guess.

Carlson said the county is hoping to get a permanent monitor.

“I don’t know if our putting the policy in will help in getting a permanent monitor, but if it does, that’s probably a good thing,” Carlson said.

Leeds said the policy is in two parts, creating a stricter policy in place for Havre Middle School and a less-strict policy at Havre High School, where the older students can better handle minor air-quality issues.

The policy will use guidelines developed by the state Department of Environmental quality to restrict outdoor recesses, practices and competitions depending on the air quality.


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