Area schools with worst air quality according to USA Today

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (NBC12) - A USA Today air quality report finds the air your child breathes while outdoors -- during P.E., recess, or just waiting for the bus, could be harmful to their health. 

The study found elevated levels of toxins in the air around schools.

The question is who is responsible for the air around a school?  NBC12 spoke to several school districts today, most say they are reviewing the report and will then figure out what action they can take.  

NBC12 examined the hundreds of schools and education programs in our viewing area. Those in the ten worst percentiles of air quality include:

  • Eight schools in Richmond
  • Petersburg and Henrico both have four schools listed
  • Three schools in Chesterfield
  • Two schools in Colonial Heights
  • Hanover doesn't have any schools in the top 10
  • Hopewell is the worst offender with all 10 schools listed in the tenth or higher percentile.

That means you'll only be able to find about 13,500 schools across the nation with worse air quality, click here. Rojhan Waters sends her son to the Woodlawn Learning Center in Hopewell.   She says she isn't surprised because of all the industrial plants in the city.

"Being that it's air you know you breathe in air everyday, you have to go outside eventually," says Waters. 
She says this is something she can't necessarily protect her son from.

"It is concerning because theres other health things you need to worry about every day," says Waters. "I feel as if you shouldn't have to worry about coming outside and breathing some air. I think they can really do something about that."

NBC12 contacted the EPA today -- they sent us this statement: "USA Today's rankings should not be taken as definitive. Much more needs to be known to confidently assess the risks from toxic air pollutants at any given location." They go on to say "...We are making progress."

Top ten percentiles of worst air quality surrounding schools according to USA Today:

Richmond: 8 schools
2200 Fairfax Avenue Richmond, VA
2001 Royall Avenue Richmond, VA
1600 Everett St Richmond, VA

Genesis Preparatory Academy

214 Cowardin Avenue Richmond, VA
8320 Buffin Rd Richmond, VA
2200 Ingram St Richmond, VA

Summer Hill/Ruffin Road

2717 Alexander St Richmond, VA

Swansboro Elem.

3160 Midlothian Tnpk Richmond, VA
Hopewell: 10 schools
3803 Ruffin Rd Hopewell, VA


301 N 15Th Ave Hopewell, VA


Carter G. Woodson Middle

1000 Winston Churchill Drive Hopewell, VA
300 S 18Th Ave Hopewell, VA

Harry E. James Elem.

1807 Arlington Rd Hopewell, VA
400 S Mesa Dr Hopewell, VA

Hopewell Isaep Ctr

400 S. Mesa Dr. Hopewell, VA
400 Westhill Drive Hopewell, VA
1600 Atlantic Street Hopewell, VA
1100 Dinwiddie Ave Hopewell, VA
Chesterfield 3 schools

Enon Elem.

2001 E. Hundred Rd. Chester, VA

Marguerite F. Christian Elem

14801 Woods Edge Rd. Colonial Heights, VA
6627 River Rd Matoaca, VA
Petersburg 4 schools
1450 Talley Avenue Petersburg, VA

Central St. Hosp. Ed. Pr.

West Washington St Extended Petersburg, VA
23814 River Road Petersburg, VA
Bldg 120 Petersburg, VA
Colonial Heights
5501 Conduit Rd Colonial Heights, VA
Henrico  4 schools
8320 Buffin Rd Richmond, VA

Rolfe Middle

6901 Messer Rd Richmond, VA
2551 New Market Rd Richmond, VA
7053 Messer Rd Richmond, VA


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