Smoke, the New Bay Area Norm

School in session despite poor air quality conditions in San Jose


Photo courtesy of Ethan Pham

The sun shines through the smoke-filled sky in the Bay Area. It could be until next week when the smoke begins to clear out, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Smoke from the recent wildfire — Camp Fire — in Butte County is drifting into areas all the way to San Jose.

As a result, schools from around the Bay Area canceled classes on Nov. 16, but UPA  — located in Santa Clara County — continued school despite poor air quality, leaving students wary about whether or not to attend on Friday.

“I felt that it should be a choice,” eighth grader Mahima Bhella said. “Personally, I had a test [today] so I had to come to school, but [during break or lunch] I wouldn’t want to be here because of the air quality.”

According to campus supervisor Elliott Boesch, the air quality index surpassed 180, which is over the safe and normal range of 0-50.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea for them [to come to school],” Boesch said, “especially those with asthma or breathing problems.”

On campus, students and teachers were seen wearing face masks to prevent themselves from breathing in harmful pollutants.

But some teachers, including English teacher Kristin Moore, were relieved that school was still held despite the air quality.

“Especially since next week is Thanksgiving break, I’m glad that we were able to have today’s lessons before the week-long break,” Moore said.