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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
August 9, 2019

Dear County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and Principals:

Wildfire Smoke Guidance for California Schools

The 2019 wildfire season is upon us; it is evidence of the new normal facing our state. Whether at home, at school, or at work, we cannot stress enough that the time to prepare is now.

To help schools and local educational agencies prepare to address impacts from wildfire smoke that can be felt hundreds of miles from the source, the California Department of Education (CDE) partnered with the California Air Resources Board, California Air Pollution Control Officers Association, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association, Association of California School Administrators, and California School Boards Association to develop guidance that local education leaders can use in conversation with local air districts to determine how school activities will be affected when air quality is poor. This guidance can be found on the CDE web page at

The possibility of closing school due to smoke is a complex local decision. I invite you to use this new guidance as a tool to inform your planning efforts, including how you will communicate air quality issues to the families you serve.

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact Jeffrey Reyes, Education Administrator, Emergency Coordination and Grant Management, by phone at 916-319-0327 or by email at


Tony Thurmond


Last Reviewed: Friday, August 9, 2019

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