Air Quality Index Protocol And School-Wide Clean Air Filtration System

The International School of Tianjin monitors air quality throughout the day by reference to readings taken on site using the school’s own AQI monitor and a real time Air Quality Index (AQI) feed at the following website:

To ensure that judgements about air quality levels err on the side of caution, IST averages the AQI measurements taken at school with the averages reported for Tianjin. Given that IST readings are almost always lower than the Tianjin average due to the school’s location in a non-industrial, residential area, the further averaging of measurements means that the school responds to inflated readings not representative of actual levels recorded at the school. To further ensure student health and well-being, IST installed a school-wide air filtration system in 2014 to ensure that students breathe clean, fresh air throughout the school day.

Although many other schools in Tianjin and Beijing currently use an AQI of 250 as the threshold for acceptable conditions for outdoor play and sports, at IST the Board of Governors has chosen to impose an AQI limit of 200. Any reading of 201 and above will result in the cancellation of normal outdoor play and athletic activities. The only exception to this limit will be for scheduled ISAC and ACAMIS inter-school sports tournaments where the common agreement amongst member schools is that the threshold for the cancellation of sports events is an AQI of 250.

IST permits short-term, quiet and non-athletic outdoor instructional activities in the 201-300 AQI range; however, no outdoor activities whatsoever are permitted when AQI readings exceed 300. Fieldtrips are allowed to proceed when AQI levels exceed normal protocol limits, but only when taking place at indoor locations.

AQI guidelines suggest that those with respiratory problems should limit the intensity of outdoor activity when AQI readings indicate Lightly Polluted conditions (AQI 101-150), and remain inside when AQI readings indicate Moderately Polluted conditions (AQI 151-200+). It is therefore important that parents inform the school nurses and homeroom teachers if their children have respiratory problems, and that parents reiterate these thresholds and activity restrictions with their children.

AQI Air Pollution Level Health Implications
0 - 50 Excellent No health implications.
51 - 100 Good Unusually sensitive individuals should reduce intense activity.
101 - 150 Lightly Polluted Slight irritations may occur. Individuals with respiratory problems should reduce intensity of outdoor activity.
151 - 200 Moderately Polluted Slight irritations may occur. Individuals with respiratory problems should remain indoors.
201 - 300 Heavily Polluted Healthy individuals will be noticeably affected when participating in high intensity activities. All athletic activity and outdoor play cancelled. Quiet non-athletic instructional activities permissible.
300+ Severely Polluted All outdoor activity cancelled.