DAVIS (CBS SF) — The University of California, Davis announced Tuesday evening that it will resume classes on Wednesday, November 14th despite severely poor air quality engulfing the area as a result of the Camp Fire in Butte County.
The university cancelled classes on Tuesday. Students and faculty took to social media to express anger for the university’s decision.
Arguments focused on the potential health risks of attending class and working outdoor campus jobs in severely unhealthy breathing conditions.
UC Davis is known for being an active outdoor school, with a large portion of the student body getting around campus via bicycle. It is one of the top bicycle-friendly campuses in the world, with over 30,000 bike parking spots.
San Jose pulmonologist Will Tsang says people who are exercising outside are putting themselves at great risk for lung, heart, neurological and immune system problems. Tiny particles in the air can embed themselves deep in one’s body.
“I have seen those people and I really advise people to not do that! Now is not the time to pursue outdoor activities at all,” said Tsang.
In a statement, the university said they will provide N95 masks for students and staff. It also said that Unitrans, the student-run bus service, will provide free rides for staff and Davis community members (it already provides free rides for students).
A petition was quickly started on change.org for the University to keep classes cancelled; the description read, “The air quality is worsening and they refuse to cancel classes.” As of 11:00 p.m. Tuesday evening, the petition already had over 10,000 people supporting it. There are around 35,000 students enrolled at the university.
“No physical activity? Biking is a physical activity. How do I get to class?” read the top reason for signing.
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