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Air Quality Concerns Cause School Cancellation

Vani Suresh | vsuresh19@dtechhs.org | November 16,2018

In an email to all d.tech families, School Director Melissa Mizel proclaimed that school would be canceled today, November 16th. After a full week of air quality concerns and a canceled school event, staff decided last minute that it was unsafe for students to attend school.

Earlier yesterday, the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Redwood City reached the “Very Unhealthy” level of 231. According to a study done by Richard Muller at UC Berkeley, breathing the air at that level for 24 hours is equivalent to smoking 10 cigarettes a day for an entire year. As everyone knows, this is extremely dangerous, as it has been found that smoking increases the chances of lung cancer significantly and reduces a person’s longevity. Unfortunately, just being outside in the Bay Area has created this same effect for all of us.  

These air conditions are due to the blazing wildfire in Butte County, called Campfire. Rapidly becoming the deadliest wildfire in California history, the death toll has increased to 63, with 631 people missing. The fire started on Nov. 8 and has grown steadily to cover more than 140,000 acres. Only 40% contained, firefighters and officials are working tirelessly to combat the flames.

Even with d.tech’s state of the art air filtration system, coming to school was deemed unsafe for students and staff. Those who travel long distances and take public transportation to school spend a long time in the polluted air. In her email to the students and parents of d.tech, Mizel stated that while they “did want to spend our last day before break together” they realized it was more important for families to stay indoors together as much as they could. For students, this means an early start to the Thanksgiving week-long break. As such, we can all remember to be grateful for the quality of the air we breathe regularly and for the amazing responders helping to solve this issue now.

So remember to stay indoors, limit physical activity, stay safe this weekend, and have a happy Thanksgiving!

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