UC Davis issued a statement at 9 pm on Tuesday evening announcing, “After consulting with our UC Davis health and fire experts and monitoring updated guidance from other public health experts regarding air quality, UC Davis classes will resume on Wednesday, Nov. 14; however, all outdoor physical education classes are canceled.”
Here is the remainder of the statement:
In order to encourage people to refrain from excessive outdoor physical activity, Unitrans will offer free rides for students, faculty and staff throughout the day, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
UC Davis Health pulmonary specialists recommend tracking the air quality index (AQI) in your region. When the AQI is over 100 (unhealthy for sensitive groups) or over 150 for everyone, please follow these guidelines:
- Minimize outdoor activity and stay inside whenever possible
- Keep all windows, doors and vents shut
- If you exercise, only do so indoors
Students, faculty and staff who have chronic cardiopulmonary diseases such as asthma, COPD and coronary artery disease, or those who are pregnant or do not feel well due to the smoke, should monitor their symptoms and consult with their health care provider, or seek care at an urgent care center or emergency department if symptoms increase.
UC Davis will have a limited supply of N95 masks for students and employees, available on a first-come, first-served basis. Masks will be available beginning Wednesday midday at the Memorial Union and the UC Davis Fire Department on the Davis campus, and at Employee Health, UC Davis Health on the Sacramento campus.
Please note that prolonged use of N95 respirator mask can exacerbate symptoms in those with respiratory problems. N95 respirator mask use by those with heart and respiratory diseases can be dangerous, and should only be done under a doctor’s supervision. Please see links to public health advisories from Sacramento and Yolo County public health officers regarding mask use and consult with your health care provider about the benefits and risks of mask use.
Our concern for the health and safety of our community is our priority. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as needed.
In response, late on Tuesday, ASUCD fired back:
We, the Senators and Commission Chairs at the University of California Davis, are writing to express our dismay with the decision of the UC Davis administration to resume classes on Wednesday, November 14th.
The administration chose to cancel classes on Tuesday, November 13th as a result of the excessive smoke in the air brought on by the nearby Camp Fire. This decision was made as a result of the 169 on the Air Quality Index which indicates that being outside as unhealthy for all. This decision was greatly appreciated by students, especially those who have health conditions such as asthma. These students who did not have to risk their own health or well being in order to make it to their class. Canceling classes allowed students to remain indoors and not risk their well being in order to bike or walk to and from or around campus. This decision was in line with other universities in the region such as Sacramento State and Chico State which have both canceled classes due to air quality concerns from the Camp Fire.
Instead of remaining in lockstep with other university partners in the region, UC Davis decided to resume normal classes for Wednesday, November 14th. This decision was made despite that fact that the Yolo-Solano County Air Quality Index, which was linked to on the UC Davis home web page, shows the Air Quality Index is at 174 for Wednesday, November 14th. This is 5 points higher than Tuesday’s AQI in which the university chose to cancel classes.
As a remedy to this, UC Davis has offered free busing service to students, which for undergraduates is already free, and masks which are in a limited supply. These precautions are inadequate and do not address the fact that most students have to walk or bike from one end of campus to another.
The best response to this poor air quality, according to health experts, is to remain indoors which is not possible if students are expected to go to class. The student body has expressed much of their dissatisfaction regarding the recent decision to resume classes, and as a result have taken action in drafting a petition, garnishing over 10,000 signatures, to cancel classes on Wednesday, November 14th. ASUCD would like to echo those concerns and advise that the UC Davis administration will reconsider its decisions to resume classes on Wednesday, November 14th. We firmly believe that this is in the best interest of the health of students, faculty, and staff at the University of California, Davis.
Alisha Hacker, ASUCD Senate Pro Tempore
Maria Martinez, ASUCD Senator
Simranjit Kaur, ASUCD Senator
Daniella Aloni, ASUCD Senator
Atanas Spasov, ASUCD Senator
Sydney Hack, ASUCD Senator
Jesse Kullar, ASUCD Senator
Justin Hurst, ASUCD Academic Affairs Commission Chair
Jumoke Maraiyesa, ASUCD Senator
Ko Ser Lu Htoo, ASUCD Senator
Nayzak Wali-Ali, ASUCD External Affairs Commission Chair
Bryan Perez, ASUCD Senator