Air quality concerns keep kids inside at Knoxville daycare

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Smoke has been forcing many places that care for children to forego outdoor recess. Those looking out for our children are taking extra precautions because the air quality in East Tennessee is in poor shape.

Kids at Little People Preschool have had to stay inside this week because it could hurt their health since the sky is full of smog.

“Cause of the fire. There’s fire everywhere,” said four-year-old brothers Stephon and Stephin Paige.

Previous story: Tennessee declares state of emergency due to drought, wildfires

“Some days they’re a little cranky, some days they’re really okay,” added daycare owner Mary Bowlin.

Being inside for so many days means teachers are having to get creative, thinking of new ways to occupy the children’s time but it’s starting to get old.

“They need to go outside and get their wigglies out, get their little heart beating, get that blood pumping. It helps them rest better. They eat a better lunch. So it really just affects their whole day,” added Bowlin.

Most are hoping for rain and an end to this drought, but the Paige twins make a solid argument when asked if they want rain.

“No. Because if it rains, we get wet and we have to get a umbrella.”

Once it rains, chances are kids will be able to go back outside for recess.

“We don’t want to risk any damage to them at all. They’re what’s most important. So we’re not going outside until it’s lifted,” said Bowlin.

In the meantime, imaginations are running wild on how to fight growing wildfires.

“When I’m superman, I’m gonna put water on it,” said the Paige brothers.

Knox County Schools issued a statement saying: “Principals have been advised to follow the recommendations of the Knox County Health Department which have included restricted outdoor activities.”

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