Dear Students, Staff and Faculty,
I am writing to provide an update about air quality on the Berkeley campus in response to numerous questions we are receiving about whether classes should be cancelled tomorrow (Thursday). The latest air quality readings from the most reliable source, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, indicate that the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Berkeley remains below 200. That is the level at which campus guidelines indicate that class cancellation should be considered. (Please note that other websites measuring and reporting the AQI are using unreliable technology.)
After extensive, careful consultation with our campus medical staff and personnel from our Office of Environment, Health & Safety, we have decided that cancellation of classes is not, at this point in time, warranted or necessary due to the current AQI levels in Berkeley. However, campus medical staff are advising that all of us limit our time outside and refrain from heavy exertion when outdoors. In addition, medical staff advise that those who have underlying medical conditions that could make them more sensitive to the current air quality should consider staying home, particularly if they commute by foot and bike. In that context we ask faculty and supervisors to be as accommodating as possible.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is forecasting a significant improvement in air quality beginning on Friday morning, with continued clearing throughout the weekend. We will continue to closely monitor reliable readings and forecasts, and will keep the campus community updated. We also realize that regardless of the actual physical health threats posed by the current air quality, the environment we have been living in the last few days has been difficult and disturbing for many. If you, or someone you know, needs support, we urge you to take full advantage of the services and support provided by University Health Services.
Carol T. Christ