Yonkers Public Schools announced that it would be closing all schools on Thursday, June 8 as a result of the poor air quality and the unhealthy conditions in the city.
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The announcement comes after the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation issued an air quality health advisory for the New York City metro area and lower Hudson Valley that is expected to last through Thursday.
The smoky air also caused the Mount Vernon City School District to cancel all outdoor activities and enact precautions such as closing all classroom windows and turning on humidifiers.
Mount Vernon district officials also urged students and staff to wear masks in the building.
In addition to school districts, Westchester's government also took precautions, canceling all county-sponsored outdoor events on Wednesday, June 7, and urging employees to wear masks as well.
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According to the DEC, the air quality in the New York City metro area remains "unhealthy," while the air quality in the lower Hudson Valley is rated as "unhealthy for sensitive groups."
DEC officials said that the level of fine particulate matter in the air caused by the pollution can cause short-term health effects including:
- Irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat;
- Runny nose;
- Shortness of breath.
Exposure to the pollution can also worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease, county officials said, also adding that children and elderly residents are most at risk.
Residents are urged to keep their windows closed as the smoke continues to cover the area.
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