What does this mean?

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Air Quality

What is the quality of the air in BCIS facilities?

BCIS is enjoying an indoor air quality that is significantly cleaner than the air quality index (AQI) outside. The quality of our indoor air is tested regularly, in various locations throughout our buildings, using the TSI 8534 handheld monitor purchased by the school with funds raised at the 2013 BCIS Spring in the City event. This monitor measures multiple types of suspended particulate matter (SPM) including respirable suspended particle matter (RSP; particles with a diameter of 10 micrometers or less) and fine particles (diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less).

What strategy does BCIS have regarding air quality at school?

To achieve and maintain an indoor air quality level of at least 80% cleaner than outdoor levels, BCIS has installed a set of three layers of Honeywell filters (the maximum available) in all of the 17 air-intake machines in our buildings – including the Elementary School, Secondary School and Sports Center – and supplemental Blue Air brand air filter machines in many rooms, primarily the classrooms with our youngest students. Additionally, our building has been designed in a way that allows for positive air pressure, which means when a door opens, it allows the air to travel from inside to outside. Finally, our new Early Childhood Center (ECC) campus, which will host BCIS classes for Toddlers through Kindergarten starting in the 2014-2015 academic year, is an LEED-certified to Gold Standard facility.

What does BCIS do on bad air days?

At BCIS, we have strict rules regarding what students and faculty are permitted to do during periods when AQI ratings are high in Beijing (see chart below). We created and enforce these rules in order to limit the amount of prolonged exposure to unhealthy air through the reduction or modification of school activities that require moderate to heavy exertion. Staff members are kept informed of changes in AQI throughout the day so that they can change activity plans as needed. Additionally, our staff members have all been trained to observe student behavior and respond to distress—our nurses also check students with asthma on a regular basis.



BCIS Response

0-100 Daily activities are not affected.

Daily activities are not affected.

Teachers report any signs of respiratory difficulty in children to the nurse immediately.



1) Students will be allowed outside to play during breaks but will not take part in strenuous activities. Students will also have the option of staying indoors in the library, especially students with respiratory problems.

2) All EAs will be modified so that students do not take part in strenuous activity.

3) Any BCIS outdoor community event will be modified.

4) Teachers report any signs of respiratory difficulty in children to the nurse immediately.

5) PE and related activities will be modified by PE teachers.


1) All PE and related activities lessons will be modified and carried out indoors.

2) Students will remain indoors during break time in line with the indoor play procedures.

3) All field trips that involve any sort of physical activity will be postponed.

4) All outdoor EAs will be moved indoors.

5) Any BCIS outdoor community event will be cancelled.

6) Teachers report any signs of respiratory difficulty in children to the nurse immediately.

How will BCIS respond if the Beijing government announces a Red Alert?

In December 2013, the Beijing government issued a new policy stating that schools close if the government predicts that the Air Quality Index (AQI) will be 300 or higher for at least three consecutive days, a situation the government has labeled as “Red Alert”. The government’s color code regarding AQI can be found below for your reference. If the Red Alert is issued, BCIS will reach out to you immediately via SMS and email. We will also have staff on campus in the event that people come to school on a day that it is closed.

Government Alert Levels and Actions


Blue warning

One day of heavy pollution (continuously 200+) is predicted

Reduce ECC and ES outdoor activities.


Yellow warning

One day of severe pollution (continuously 300+) or three days of heavy pollution is/are predicted.

Stop ECC and ES activities, reduce MS and HS outdoor activities such as PE and sports.


Orange warning

Three days of heavy and severe pollution are predicted.

Stop outdoor activities for all students.

Red warning



Three continuous days of severe pollution are predicted.

Stop schooling for all students, but do not stop learning.













What if my child requires special attention in regards to air quality issues?
You have our commitment that BCIS will attend carefully to all individual situations. If you have special concerns about your child, please let their teacher know, and you may also reach out to Head of School directly to discuss.


BCIS is accredited by the CIS (Council of International Schools) and WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges), which demonstrates that the school meets demanding international standards in all the areas of philosophy and objectives, curriculum, governance and management, staff, student support services, resources, and student and community life.Visit www.cois.org and www.acswasc.org for more information.

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) is a non-profit educational foundation, motivated by its mission, focused on the student. The three programmes for students aged 3 to 19 help develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world. Founded in 1968, IBO currently works with 2,771 schools in 138 countries to develop and offer three challenging programmes to over 763,000 students aged 3 to 19 years.Visit www.ibo.org for more information.

We live by a spirit of inspiring others, achieving ones goals and creating a better world.

Beijing City International School | No.77 Baiziwan Nan Er Road, Beijing 100022, P.R.China | Tel: +86 010 8771 7171 | Fax: +86 010 8771 7778

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