Wildfire smoke hitting physical and mental health

MISSOULA- Education officials are asking for input on a plan to protect school kids from heavy wildfire smoke.

Montana state health officials are considering requiring public schools to create plans for making school buildings airtight during heavy wildfire smoke. It’s part of a series of proposed changes to administrative rules for schools.

Poor air quality has been a serious issue in recent years across the state, as heavy wildfire smoke has clogged Montana's valleys. In the worst conditions, some school districts have canceled recess to limit kids' exposure to unhealthy air.

The state Department of Health and Human Services have proposed a set of rules that would require schools to regularly inspect air systems and create plans for sealing school buildings from outside air in hazardous conditions.

Jon Ebelt, spokesman for DPHHS says:

 “DPHHS encourages the public to comment on the proposed rules. Public participation is vital to the administrative rulemaking process. We know this topic is very important to Montanans, and that is why we extended the public comment period to allow more time for folks to comment.”

Click here to view the full set of proposed rule changes for Montana public schools under "Rule Proposal Information."

DPHHS is asking for public comment on these proposed rules, and you can email those comments to dphhslegal@mt.gov by September 16 at 5 p.m. 

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