The wildfires, affecting much of the North Bay, that started Sunday, October 8th, impacted students and staff at Galileo over the last week of school. Heavy winds pushed smoke from the fire to San Francisco, which caused the air quality to drop drastically, forcing the school district to limit the amount of activities students could do outdoors.
Last Tuesday, Thursday & Friday, the school district’s announcement of poor air quality required teachers and staff to keep students indoors for lunch, including the October food-fest that was held on Friday, October 13th. In addition, the school district informed all PE classes they had to keep their activities inside, and no sports could go outside to practice, forcing many teams to then cancel practice. “This week we only practiced 1 day out of 5 outside and everyday we pretty much had to wait until 1 o’clock for the commissioner to let us know if we can practice outside or not,” said Varsity Coach Mark Huynh.
Students have been more cautious about doing things outside with all the warnings that have been given. Senior Denny C. said, “I ride my bike to school everyday but today I didn’t ride [this week] because of the pollution in the air.”
3rd floor security guard Mikael said, “I had to wear the mask; I have asthma, and plus I was sick. I didn’t think it [the smoke] would have came down here.”
Some students wanted the district to cancel school because of the health risks. Galileo seniors, Emily M. and Parker J., started a petition, asking for school to be postponed until the air quality gets better. The petition was signed by over 14,000 students. “This is a health risk that will impact people of all ages. If SFUSD truly cared about the welfare of the children enrolled and the staff employed, they should show us by putting their money where their words are. If the district canceled school over a rainstorm three years ago, then air filled with carcinogens should be held at a much higher degree of concern,” said Emily.
Although some teachers and staff were worried about the air quality, others weren’t as concerned about it. “It hasn’t affected me personally but this gives people a glimpse of what real climate change is and it’s interesting to see how people are freaking out over 2 to 3 days of smoke,” said special education teacher Mr. Allen. “Climate change is not affecting me. It’s more like you have to choose where to go instead of just going outside,” said Spanish teacher Mr. Villar.