Air quality forces campus closure


Perry Continente

Students leave campus Thursday after the closure. Sam Schniederman, left, sports a mask for safety.

Perry Continente , @perrycontinente

The Contra Costa Community College District temporarily closed LMC, DVC and CCC along with all of their satellite campuses due to smoke pollution from the Butte County fire Thursday, Nov. 15.

The air quality was deemed severe enough to be hazardous to student health and wellbeing with an Air Quality Index of 273 in Brentwood, which is designated as “very unhealthy,” or “purple air,” the second worst designation of air quality, and an AQI of 188 in Pittsburg.

An email distributed by EMERAlert, an automated emergency alert service, stated, “While the Bay Area Air Quality Management District is forecasting a significant improvement in the air quality over the next few days, we believe that this decision best serves the safety of our students, staff and community.”

LMC Vice President Kevin Horan commented on the closures.

“We always hold the health of students, faculty and staff [in the highest regard,]” said Horan.

In regards to why the campuses remained open for so long, Horan said, “We thought that the quality was going to get better, throughout the day, but it has only gotten worse.”

Student Sam Schneiderman staggered off of campus with his head down and his mouth and nose covered with a mask to mitigate the effects of the smoke.

Schneiderman explained that he also attends Antioch High and that classes have been canceled there for days.

“My dad bought this mask at Lowes because we were worried about the smoke,” said Schneiderman.

At 3:05 p.m. a mass text, as well as an email, was sent informing students and faculty of the closures, stating that the campuses will reopen Monday, Nov. 19.

Update: The District has since confirmed the campuses will be closed for the entire week of Nov. 19. The campuses will open and classes will resume Nov. 26.

Due to the closures, the final day to drop classes with a W has been extended to Nov. 26. All drops must be done in person.

The decision to close follows several other Bay Area colleges who have also closed for the week due to air quality concerns.