In partnership with TrailsforYouth.org, Lynbrook Elementary School in Springfield is raising a colored flag to help teachers, students and members of the community be aware of daily air quality conditions. Students and staff of Lynbrook, with help from TrailsforYouth.org, have joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's School Flag Program to help protect children's health, according to a recent news release.
Poor air quality contributes to asthma and respiratory illnesses which causes multiple missed school days each year.
"Lynbrook works continuously to support the well-being of each of our students. This program is an extension of our efforts to provide all the benefits we can for our students," said Assistant Principal Shirley Shannon. "Partnering with TrailsforYouth.org to provide this program is an additional resource for our students and the community. We are excited to be a pioneer in the county."
Every day, student patrols at Lynbrook will raise a color-based flag of the Air Quality Index (AQI) to show how polluted the air is expected to be. Families and teachers will be able to compare the colored flags to the AQI and know what actions to take to protect the children's health.
Green signals good air quality, yellow is moderate, orange means unhealthy for sensitive groups (like children and people with asthma) and red signals unhealthy air for everyone. A purple flag means the air quality is very unhealthy and sensitive groups should avoid all outdoor exertion while everyone else should limit outdoor exertion.
“TrailsforYouth.Org (TYO) is so pleased to partner with Lynbrook and supply the materials needed to implement this health program. This program is a vital tool to help those students and families dealing with asthma,” said Julie Childers, executive director of TYO. “Through funding from Verizon Foundation, TYO is able to purchase the needed supplies. Our goal is to work with several schools and have flags flying throughout the region.”
More than seven million children under age 18, or 9.5 percent of children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with asthma according to the CDC. Children are particularly susceptible to air pollution, which can harm their lungs and trigger asthma attacks.
TrailsforYouth.Org is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that mentors at-risk youth and provide opportunities for children to experience nature along with the joys and health benefits of being active outdoors.