Then, Glidden said, the school district provided surgical masks, which health departments have warned are ineffective in protecting against smoke. Residents affected by heavy smoke must seek shelter in buildings with filtered air or move to areas outside the region which has been affected by wildfire smoke. Still, people without respiratory problems also were impacted by the shift in air quality.
"It was miserable. It felt really bad as a teacher to try to protect your kids", said Glidden, who is vice president of United Teachers of Richmond union. "We are joining forces with the rest of our sports community to help relief efforts and encourage any fans who are able to help by donating as well". But no schools were closed, said Marcus Walton, communications director for the district.
The superintendent had left a voicemail for parents and teachers on Monday night, assuring them that they would be taking the necessary precautions, but Glidden said that their response was lacking "It did not feel like a safe school environment".
"We're lucky right now the air quality's OK", she said Wednesday. "If we don't get winds it just kind of sits here".
The prediction lines up with air-quality forecasts.
The wildfires continue to pour tons of soot and ash into the air.
At least 17 people have died and at least 2,000 homes, businesses and other structures have been destroyed in the several Northern California wildfires. "Places like Marin, East Bay, maybe even San Francisco, will see smoke again". Experts are urging people to stay indoors as much as possible and avoid strenuous exercise in smoky areas.
Fresno Unified has chose to cancel all outdoor activities, including sports practices, for elementary, middle and high school students. Meteorologists expect smoke to return in full force.
On Thursday, levels of the particle pollution known as PM2.5 hovered at 160 micrograms per cubic meter - or 14 times higher than what federal standards deem safe - around the San Francisco area. "It's not going to be fun".