Campus closure affects student services

The deteriorating air quality that was hitting the Sacramento region caused by the Camp fire in Butte county, forced the Los Rios College system to close all their campuses on Nov. 14 for the following week.

The decision came via Rave Alert on Nov. 14.

‪Regional air conditions have not improved as anticipated, so Los Rios colleges are canceling all classes effective immediately and through the end of the week,” according to the alert posted on social media.  

Because of the closures, it left the campus at a standstill for a week. All counseling appointments were cancelled, the campus’ food pantry Hawk Spot was closed and student employees lost hours of work.

Other institutions such as Sac State and UC Davis were closed for two weeks following the start of the fires. Los Rios initially made a decision to stay open despite many requests by students and faculty to close because of the health hazards that were present.

Hawk Spot Student Ambassador Freddy Mande said that the closure did put a slight setback in their plans.

“Normally towards the end of the year, we try to get some more donations for people during the holidays and Thanksgiving,” said Mande.

Mande also said that since Hawk Spot wasn’t open for a week, he had a couple requests by students for food pick ups. He said he could only take appointments after the school opened on that following Monday.

Early Childhood Education student Joanna Lopez, 20, was also affected by the school deciding to close.

Lopez said that she felt that the closure was necessary because the smoke was making it hard to breath.

“I felt really sick, honestly never felt like that before,” Lopez said. “It was hard to breath, at one point I had to stop driving because it felt so suffocating in my car.”  

Lopez is a student employee for Upward Bound and First Year Experience, which were both closed during the campus closure. She said that her hours and pay were affected because both organizations were on the non-essential list which did not allow her to continue work.

“Upward Bound had to cancel a field trip on that Saturday, and we lost a lot of hours because of it,” said Lopez.

The campus closure not only affected students and student workers but it had a great impact on professors.

English professor David Weinshilbom said, “I think the campus closing was beneficial, we’re doing the best we can, there was no way we could’ve stayed open. On that last Wednesday, in my class it was unbearable, even I was coughing. It wasn’t a safe environment.”

While the campus closed for the safety of the faculty and staff, professors are trying to catch up students before the end of the semester.

Psychology Professor James Frazee also said, “No one could have done anything, we pretty much had to close campus, but I did wish that they could’ve let us change in-class work to online, it would’ve been easier.”