What is the quality of the air in BCIS facilities?
BCIS is enjoying an indoor air quality that is significantly cleaner than the air quality index (AQI) outside. The quality of our indoor air is tested regularly, in various locations throughout our buildings, using the TSI 8534 handheld monitor purchased by the school with funds raised at the 2013 BCIS Spring in the City event. This monitor measures multiple types of suspended particulate matter (SPM) including respirable suspended particle matter (RSP; particles with a diameter of 10 micrometers or less) and fine particles (diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less).
What strategy does BCIS have regarding air quality at school?
To achieve and maintain an indoor air quality level of at least 80% cleaner than outdoor levels, BCIS has installed a set of three layers of Honeywell filters (the maximum available) in all of the 17 air-intake machines in our buildings – including the Elementary School, Secondary School and Sports Center – and supplemental Blue Air brand air filter machines in many rooms, primarily the classrooms with our youngest students. Additionally, our building has been designed in a way that allows for positive air pressure, which means when a door opens, it allows the air to travel from inside to outside. Finally, our new Early Childhood Center (ECC) campus, which will host BCIS classes for Toddlers through Kindergarten starting in the 2014-2015 academic year, is an LEED-certified to Gold Standard facility.
What does BCIS do on bad air days?
At BCIS, we have strict rules regarding what students and faculty are permitted to do during periods when AQI ratings are high in Beijing (see chart below). We created and enforce these rules in order to limit the amount of prolonged exposure to unhealthy air through the reduction or modification of school activities that require moderate to heavy exertion. Staff members are kept informed of changes in AQI throughout the day so that they can change activity plans as needed. Additionally, our staff members have all been trained to observe student behavior and respond to distress—our nurses also check students with asthma on a regular basis.
How will BCIS respond if the Beijing government announces a Red Alert?
In December 2013, the Beijing government issued a new policy stating that schools close if the government predicts that the Air Quality Index (AQI) will be 300 or higher for at least three consecutive days, a situation the government has labeled as “Red Alert”. The government’s color code regarding AQI can be found below for your reference. If the Red Alert is issued, BCIS will reach out to you immediately via SMS and email. We will also have staff on campus in the event that people come to school on a day that it is closed.
What if my child requires special attention in regards to air quality issues?