Air Quality Awareness Day in a Mississippi School

Sometimes all it takes is one person to get the ball rolling to celebrate air quality awareness. James Kelley, a public health doctorial candidate at Jackson State University in Jackson, MS did just that at McWillie Elementary School. He also involved the Mississippi American Lung Association chapter, which partnered in the event with the Mississippi State Department of Health Asthma Program, where Mr. Kelley interns.

McWillie Elementary in Jackson, MS staged an Asthma and Air Quality Day on May 21, 2013. Mr. Kelley created a teacher lesson plan for the event, which was approved by the school principal.

After a pre-test assessment, students talked about asthma symptoms and triggers, and passed around models of normal and inflamed bronchial tubes. The students simulated what an asthma attack can feel like by breathing through their fists. Students also were introduced to the air quality index colors and flags. In their post- test, the average score increased almost 25 points. The students said they enjoyed the event and learned a lot about asthma and air quality!

As a result of this event, McWillie Elementary is now participating in the School Flag Program so members of the school and the surrounding community can tell what the daily air quality is, and adjust their activities to reduce their exposure to air pollution.

James Kelley gives presentation at McWillie Elementary