There’s an Air Quality alert, why do we still have class?

This feels like life or death

You’ve been smelling the smoke and seeing it, but yesterday we finally got answers – an official Air Quality Alert has been issued for upstate South Carolina and western North Carolina due to wildfires burning in the area.

Clemson first saw the smokey air this past Thursday and, unfortunately, it does not seem to be leaving any time soon. One of the wildfires, the Pinnacle Mountain fire, is happening right in Pickens County while the larger Party Rock fire is in North Carolina. Firefighters at Pinnacle Mountain are making progress to contain it, but believe that the fire is still dangerous.

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Fike was closed yesterday from 3:30 p.m due to “degraded air quality in the facility,” yet we still had class. It’s apparently too dangerous for people to use stair masters when smokey air gets inside, but sitting in classrooms, walking around campus all day, and driving with low visibility is perfectly safe.

The University also cancelled all sanctioned outdoor use of campus facilities yesterday. If we’re going to start cancelling activities and closing buildings, cancelling class is the next natural step and cross your fingers that Clemson takes it.

fullsizerender-2An Air Quality Alert means that people should stay inside if possible and limit the use of machines that will increase the air pollution. Students and teachers commuting to class are not able to heed either of these strong recommendations.

Itchy eyes. Coughing. Shortness of breath. This may not be life or death, but it feels like it. Breathing polluted air can also cause more serious health problems, which is why Clemson needs to give the people what they want and allow us to have a smokey air day.

Sure, it’s not your classic snow day, but we have to take what we can get.

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A haze is falling on Clemson. Is the lingering smokey air just leftover negative vibes from Saturday’s devastating game? That’s for you to judge, but for now, we should be listening to the Air Quality Alert that has been issued and trying to stay indoors until the smoke clears.

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