MONTEREY, Calif. -

After being out for the summer, school is finally back in session at Foothill Elementary School in Monterey.

"We ate lunch, we ate snack, we went to the park,” said Foothill School student Valentine Ross.

"I played with my friends and they liked my new backpack," said fellow student Damien Lara.

Excitement is in the air, but so is pollution from the Soberanes fire.

"It is a little bit of an issue or at least a little worry for breathing, especially if the kids are playing outside," said parent John Lara.

Both of Denise Ross's grandkids have asthma.

"This will set them off if they play outside in it, the smoke from the fire," said Ross.

Monterey Peninsula Unified School District is taking steps to prevent potential respiratory issues, which could lead to an emergency visit to the hospital.

"(We are) really prepared to ensure a safe environment for our students given the air condition," said Foothill Elementary Principle Lauren Park.

Under an advisory from the Monterey County Health Department, schools are dialing down physical activity.

"There was no P.E. today," said Park.

Teachers are monitoring students during passing periods, the use of aerosol products and vacuuming is being decreased. Students are also walking during recess instead of playing because increased breathing brings in more pollutants to the lungs.

"We haven't heard any complaints.We haven't had any complications, so it's been a very successful first day of school," said Park.

Schools are also keeping doors and windows closed.

"Keeping the poor air quality outside," said Park.

"I think it's good that they're doing at least some preventative measures," said John.

School officials said they will continue to practice the health advisories until they're told otherwise. 

ORIGINAL STORY: Thousands of Central Coast children are heading back to school this week. In terms of air quality, the timing couldn’t be worse.

As smoke and ash from the Soberanes Fire continue to foul the air, how are local school districts preparing for lunchtime, recess and other outdoor activities?

Tonight at 5 and 6, KION’s Maya Holmes has that side of the fire story.