Recess Guidance

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Poor air quality can affect your health

  • Every person has a different sensitivity to air pollution
  • Populations that are especially vulnerable include children, the elderly and those with chronic lung or heart conditions

Recess Guidance is a set of air quality guidelines for schools to use in determining whether to cancel outdoor recess on bad air days..

  • Recess Guidance recommendations are based off PM2.5 levels, because this is the pollutant of greatest concern during inversion season

Current Recess Guidance has three levels of recommendations.

  • Below 35.4 (green and yellow levels), all kids can go outside for recess
  • Between 35.4 and 55.4 (orange level), sensitive students and students with respiratory symptoms should remain indoors for recess
  • Above 55.5 (red or purple levels), all students should remain indoors for recess

To check PM2.5 levels, visit and click on “Current.” Levels. Health information is also available at

For more Recess Guidance resources for schools and parents, visit the Asthma Program website

Tips for protecting your lungs during inversion season:

  • Check air quality levels before outdoor activities (
  • Move exercise indoors when air pollution reaches unhealthy levels.
  • For those with asthma, take your medications as directed

During inversion season, do your part to help reduce pollution in the air. Reduce your driving, don’t idle your car, don’t burn wood, trip chain.

Recess Guidance handout

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