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LAUSD Launches The Nation’s Largest School-Based Air Quality Monitoring Network

The downtown skyline partially obscured by smoke from wildfires after sunset.
Smoke from a 2020 wildfire partially obscures L.A.'s skyline.
(Mario Tama
Getty Images)
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It's no secret that Los Angeles has the worst air quality of any major U.S. city.

To combat that, 200 air quality sensors have been installed at schools throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District, making it the country's largest school-based air quality monitoring network.

The sensors give parents and students in the nation’s second-largest school district up-to-date access to air quality information.

Carlos Torres, director of L.A. Unified's Office of Environmental Health and Safety, said a call from his boss in the middle of the night provided the impetus for installing the “Know Your Air Network."

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Torres said his boss woke him to ask, “is there smoke over at such and such school? And I couldn't answer without saying, well, we'll get someone out there," which required “waking someone else up and getting them out there."

The sensors take samples every six minutes, so if air quality levels are too poor, school personnel can move activities indoors, Torres said.

The broader goal is to identify trends in specific areas and use that information to provide air filtration systems to schools affected by consistently bad air quality — once the Office of Environmental Health and Safety can "better understand the data," he said.

The new initiative is part of Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho's 100-Day Plan, which focuses on "creating a school environment that prioritizes student achievement."

You can check out the air quality at your child’s school LAUSD website or the AirVisual app.

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