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Bad air quality closes all public schools in County on Friday

All 18 public school districts in Contra Costa County (as well as Contra Costa County Office of Education programs) will be closed on Friday, November 16 due to worsening air quality conditions throughout the county.

Contra Costa County K-12 school districts include: Acalanes Union High School District, Antioch Unified School District, Brentwood Union School District, Byron Union School District, Canyon School District, John Swett Unified School District, Knightsen Elementary School District, Lafayette School District, Liberty Union High School District, Martinez Unified School District, Moraga School District, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Oakley Elementary Union School District, Orinda Union School District, Pittsburg Unified School District, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Walnut Creek School District, and West Contra Costa Unified School District.

The Contra Costa Community College District has also announced the closure of all three of its campuses for Friday.

The decision to close county districts was reached collectively on Thursday afternoon by the superintendents of Contra Costa County’s 18 school districts and the County Office of Education. District superintendents cited numerous factors, including:

*The cumulative effect of poor air quality conditions throughout the week have created unhealthy environments for students and staff.

*The forecast for Friday calls for worsening air quality conditions throughout the region.

*Other education agencies including Cal State East Bay were announcing closures.

*With neighboring schools closing, staff members would be faced with significant child care dilemmas.

“While it is never an easy decision to cancel school for even one day, we, along with our district superintendents felt it was in the best interest of our students, staff members and communities to do this,” said Karen Sakata, Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools. “We will continue to work alongside our school districts as they communicate this decision to their communities.”

As a result of the wildfires in Butte County, air quality index levels throughout Contra Costa County and northern California have continued to worsen as defined by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. School districts have been monitoring air quality throughout the week and have limited or cancelled outdoor activities in accordance with Contra Costa County Public Health Department guidelines.

Families should check their school and school district websites for more information. Or visit www.cocoschools.org.

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