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Be Healthy and Alert!

2012 May 22

Cough, cough! That’s the sound of you being sick. That’s why here at Bethesda Elementary School we have a special system. Have you ever seen colorful flags outside on your school’s flagpole? If you haven’t, we’re here to tell you what they are and what they mean.

First, we are going to tell you how the system works. Every day we check the school website to check the quality of the air. A colored flag is put up on the flagpole to alert the students about the air quality for the day.   The green flag means the air outside is good and clean and it is safe for you to play outside! You want the flag to be green all the time  The yellow flag is not as good as the green flag. The air is not as clean. When we see that flag it means it is nice enough to play outside but not perfect.

Oh look! The orange flag is flying! That means the air is not clean enough to be safe for some people, including kids like us. It is okay to play outside but we have to rest more. Ugh! If you see a red flag, it means the air is full of pollution. Pollution comes from factories and cars. We can still play outside but we should not run around as much. 

Oh no, the purple flag is flying!  On a purple flag day you should think before you plan to go outside. This color tells us that the air is the dirtiest of all. You should not play outside at all. We know- not cool, right? You don’t get to run around outside, but you will be safe inside. You don’t want to get sick, do you? That’s what we thought. The air is very polluted and unhealthy for us.

Did you know that there is less pollution today than there was years ago? We are doing a good job with reducing pollution. But it is still a problem and that is one reason the flag system is important. We are glad we have the system at our school to help keep us safe and healthy!   To learn more about the School Flag Program, visit www.airnow.gov/schoolflag.

Jazmin and Guadalupe are 5th graders at Bethesda Elementary School in Durham, NC. Jazmin enjoys playing basketball and soccer and recently set an all time high record for running laps in the gym. Guadalupe is excited about becoming a sixth grader and likes being outside where she participates in many outdoor activities.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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