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Does your school have a School Flag Program?

Did you know air pollution is a trigger for asthma? Did you know children are especially sensitive to the harmful effects of air pollution? When the air quality is unhealthy what changes are you going to make in children’s outdoor play?

The School Flag Program is an effort by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help schools improve the health and wellness of students and staff.

Air pollution can affect the health of children, especially those with asthma. The School Flag Program is designed to help the school community stay aware of outdoor air quality conditions so teachers, coaches and students can take protective measures to reduce students’ exposure to air pollution. Modifying outdoor activities is recommended when air quality has reached unhealthy levels.

There are four easy steps to get the School Flag Program started at your school to ensure healthy learning environments.

First, purchase five flags, pennant style, solid colors, Schools participating in the School Flag Program raise a flag each day. The flag colors are based on the colors of the Air Quality IndexEach flag color corresponds to a different level of health concern:

  • Green = good
  • Yellow = moderate
  • Orange = unhealthy for sensitive groups
  • Red = unhealthy
  • Purple = very unhealthy 

Second, educate and inform parents, teachers and students.

Third, check the Air Quality Index each day and fly the corresponding flag. You can sign up for an email check the local news, or go to for a free air quality app or free widget.

Fourth, follow the recommendations for schools and others on poor air quality days.

Learn more about the School Flag Program  Resources for teachers are also available. For questions, contact Ellen Wildermann, 919-541-5408 or email at

For more information about air pollutants, ozone and the air quality data system, visit the Air Pollution Control Program 


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