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Smoke from Camp Fire prompts UC Davis to cancel classes through Thanksgiving

UC Davis is canceling classes through Thanksgiving due to smoke from the Butte County Camp Fire, the university announced Sunday morning.

UC Davis last week canceled classes for Tuesday, following Veterans Day, but planned to resume operations on Wednesday. Following an uproar on social media, that decision was reversed and the school was closed for the entire week.

Classes were then set to resume on Monday for the shortened holiday week but now they are set to start back up on Nov. 26, according to a campus-wide announcement made by UC Davis Chancellor Gary May.

“While we had hoped to re-open our Davis and Sacramento campuses on Monday, the air quality forecasts are not showing enough improvement toward the healthy categories,” May said Sunday. “In addition, the Academic Senate leadership has recommended that classes be canceled Monday through Wednesday.”

The air quality index in the Davis area registered at 175 Sunday morning, a level that is described by the Environmental Protection Agency as “unhealthy.” Poor air quality is expected to continue blanketing the region until Wednesday, according to Sacramento Spare the Air.

“Saturday through Monday, lingering smoke from the Camp Fire will remain over the Sacramento region,” said the Spare the Air forecast. “In addition, calm to light winds will continue to limit mixing and dispersion, and overnight temperature inversions will trap pollutants near the ground. These conditions will lead to unhealthy particle levels on all three days.”

Schools across the region have canceled classes as a result of poor air quality. Sacramento State canceled classes through Thanksgiving break as well. The Causeway Classic, an annual football game between Sac State and UC Davis, was moved to Reno in a move that both universities said was to ensure safety for student-athletes and fans who planned to attend the game, which was originally scheduled for Aggie Stadium in Davis.

UC Davis has a student population of about 38,000, according to a student profile on the university’s website. UC Davis uses a 10-week quarter system; the fall quarter ends Dec. 7. May said campus officials are still deciding how to make up for the seven days of missed classes.

“In this season of giving thanks, I hope each of you will consider how you can contribute in meaningful ways to communities, people and animals in need,” May said. “The Aggie community is a generous one, and for that I’m grateful.”

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