Classes Cancelled

November 15, 2018

Dear Campus Community,

I am writing to update you on the latest air quality readings, decisions regarding tomorrow’s class schedule, and the status of Saturday’s Big Game.

As noted in previous messages, we have been closely tracking current air quality data, as well as forecasts for Berkeley. As of 3pm today the reading for the closest monitor, located in Aquatic Park, indicates that the Air Quality Index (AQI) surpassed 200, the level at which our guidelines require consideration of class cancellations. In addition, the forecast for tomorrow from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District now indicates that conditions are expected to deteriorate. In that context, and based on the guidance of experts on campus, we must assume that the 200 AQI threshold will be exceeded tomorrow. As a result, we have decided to cancel all classes for the remainder of the day today, and on Friday.

While the campus is now essentially closed, there are a limited number of campus operations that must continue. They include University Health Services, dining halls and residential facilities, the optometry clinic, UCPD, OLAC, and the Office of Environment, Health & Safety. This is not a comprehensive list. Staff members who are uncertain about whether their duties can be filled from home, or have other questions should consult with their supervisors.

If you have organized an event please consider whether it should be re-scheduled. We recommend that everyone check appropriate websites for updated information about scheduled cultural and academic events.

The Tang Center has a limited supply of appropriate “N-95” respirators available for those students with medical conditions that may make them particularly susceptible to the impact of degraded air quality, and medical staff at the center are reaching out to students with asthma diagnoses.  However, it should be noted that even these relatively advanced masks provide limited protection and are not a substitute for staying indoors, particularly for those with pre-existing conditions.  Please see the updated page at University Health Services.

For additional information about how to protect yourself, indoors and out, from wildfire smoke, see this guide provided by the Centers for Disease Control

Insofar as Saturday afternoon’s Big Game is concerned, we are relying on the same standards, practices, data and expert guidance that have supported our decisions to date. At this point, the forecast indicates there could be an improvement in air quality on Saturday due to changes in wind patterns. So, while we realize there is potential for inconvenience we will defer any decisions about the status of the game until closer to the game, a time when the decision can be made based on actual conditions in our area.

So long as the northern California fires continue to burn we will continue to monitor developments, make decisions based on the best possible data and expert advice, and keep the campus community informed with daily updates.


Carol T. Christ
Chancellor's Office