May 27, 2015
U.S. EPA School Flag Program
St. Thomas More Catholic School is raising a brightly colored flag to help teachers, coaches, students, and members of the community be aware of daily air quality conditions. The students and staff of St. Thomas More Catholic School have joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s School Flag Program to help protect children’s health.
“I’m delighted how excited the students are about this program,” said Angela Costello, K-5th Grade Science Teacher and leader of the School Flag Program at St. Thomas More Catholic School. “This program affords us a wonderful connection between science content and service to our greater community outside of St. Thomas More Catholic School.”
Each school day, St. Thomas More Catholic School students raise the American flag, the School flag and the EPA School flag signaling to students, parents, staff, parishioners and all commuters who drive past the school property on 15-501/Fordham Boulevard, the air quality for the day. By comparing the colored flags to the AQI, teachers and coaches will know what actions to take to protect the health of their students. Green signals good air quality, yellow is moderate, oranges means unhealthy for sensitive groups (children and people with asthma, for example), and red signals unhealthy air for everyone. A purple flag means the air quality is very unhealthy and sensitive groups should avoid all outdoor exertion while everyone else should limit outdoor exertion.
Children are particularly susceptible to air pollution, which can harm their lungs and trigger asthma attacks. The flags can help students with asthma track their symptoms when the air pollution levels are in an unhealthy range. Flags may help teachers know when to modify outdoor activities which could include shortening exercise or moving exercise indoors when necessary to protect students’ health.
For more information on the School Flag Program visit EPA’s AIRNow website at