This study examines the relationship between air quality alerts and school absenteeism in New York City. Examining the effects of the alerts in school attendance is relevant because it helps us understand parents' avoidance behavior in situations of exacerbated exposure to air contaminants. Causality arises by exploiting the deterministic nature of the alerts with regression discontinuity designs. Results show a substantial five percent increase in school absences on alert days. Moreover, the study also explores the effect of income, female labor supply, and race on parent's avoidance behavior. On average, schools in more impoverished neighborhoods and with lower shares of female labor supply exhibit higher avoidance.