Air Quality Alert: Campus Update regarding Classes and Offices

Air quality alerts, classes, and office closures

Update 4: Air Quality Alert: Campus Update regarding Classes & Offices

Nov. 18, 2018, 9:55 p.m.

Dear Saint Mary's Community,

This is an update primarily concerning graduate and professional students. We are continuing to monitor the conditions of the air quality on the campus and the forecast for AQI remains in the unhealthy red category for Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 19 and Nov.20, with a storm front arriving on Wednesday, Nov.21 expected to result in clearer air quality. 

Graduate and professional students are encouraged to refer to a communication from the dean of their school regarding the status of classes for Monday and Tuesday. Depending on your program, they will be seeking alternatives to in-person meetings where possible or cancellation to accommodate the concern for environmental conditions on campus. Again, please refer to the email from your school dean.

Campus offices will be open and operating on their regular schedule next week, November 19 to 21 and are closed Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday. Again, supervisors are encouraged to reduce outdoor activity where possible for their employees, and provide protective gear (N95 masks) when employees are required to be outdoors. Additionally, supervisors are asked to work with individual employees whose specific circumstances would be appropriate for a temporary modification of workplace. Please contact your HR liaison for questions and information. 

Please refer to the Athletics website for updates on competitions scheduled or cancelled for this week. Oliver Hall will offer its regular operational hours until Wednesday. For the Thanksgiving holiday, Oliver Hall will be closed after breakfast on Wednesday and re-open with dinner on Sunday, November 25.  

Thank you, 

Jane Camarillo
Incident Management Team

 

Update 3: Air Quality Alert: Campus Update regarding Classes & Offices

Nov. 16, 2018, 8:15 p.m.

Dear Saint Mary's Faculty and Staff,

As we continue to track weather and AQI projections for the coming days, indicators are not optimistic for improvement for Monday and Tuesday. Slight improvement is projected for Saturday; however, meteorologists are predicting a change of wind direction on Sunday, hence bringing smoke back into our area. The weather forecast for Wednesday and Thursday predicts rain and cleaner air. Given the concern for continued unhealthy air, the College is canceling undergraduate classes on Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 19 and Nov. 20. Classes will resume their normal schedule on Monday, November 26. 
 
Of special note: Graduate classes will remain on their regular schedule for this weekend and next week. As stated earlier, it is projected that the AQI for Saturday will be improved. Graduate courses realize a significant impact when one class is missed since some courses meet only once a week. Several graduate students have questioned why undergraduate classes are not meeting while graduate classes continue. Undergraduates are on campus typically four to five days a week for class, and 1600 of those undergraduates live and eat on campus. The exposure to adverse air conditions on this campus is greater for undergraduates as compared to graduate students. We value and are deeply committed to the health and well-being of our undergraduate and graduate students, and are working to balance the costs and benefits to both with this action.

Campus offices will be open and operating on their regular schedule next week, November 19 to 21 and closed Thursday and Friday for the holiday.  For this weekend, the Alioto Recreation Center and Saint Albert Library will maintain their usual schedule.  Please refer to the Athletics site for updates on competitions scheduled or cancelled for this weekend.  Oliver Hall will have its regular operational hours until Wednesday.  For the Thanksgiving holiday, Oliver Hall will be closed after breakfast on Wednesday and re-open with dinner on Sunday, November 25. 

Supervisors are encouraged to reduce outdoor activity where possible for their employees, and provide gear (N95 masks) when employees are required to be outdoors. Additionally, supervisors are asked to work with individual employees whose specific circumstances would be appropriate for a temporary modification of workplace. Please contact your HR liaison for questions and information.

For faculty teaching graduate courses, we encourage when possible alternative contact including synchronous or asynchronous online contact, makeup days during finals week, or other alternatives that will best fit your course as you deem appropriate.

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Update 2: Air Quality Alert: Campus Update regarding Classes & Offices

Nov. 15, 2018, 8:30 p.m.

Dear Saint Mary's Community:

This is an update on the status of our campus closure as of 8 p.m. Air quality projections remain the same for Friday. Campus offices will remain closed until Monday, Nov. 19, and undergraduate classes will be cancelled for Friday. 

Graduate classes for Friday and Saturday will meet as scheduled since the air quality is expected to improve over the weekend. However, faculty instructors for Friday/Saturday graduate classes can decide to cancel individual classes using their standard protocol for communicating with students.

The Alioto Recreation Center will remain open during regular hours as will Dining Services, Public Safety, and Health and Wellness. After hours, the Health and Wellness Center will have the Advice Nurse available by phone (925-631-4254).

The Saint Albert Library Service Desk will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. Reference staff will be available online from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Library will resume its regular weekend hours on Saturday.

For students, please remember to review the absence policy for your classes. Many have expressed the desire to leave campus early for the Thanksgiving holiday, so it's important to know if your attendance will be impacted. For students experiencing health impacts, we urge you to take advantage of this absence policy and to contact Student Disability Services (SDS) for academic resources if you can provide necessary documentation of your illness. Even if you do not have a chronic illness but have a temporary disability due to the adverse air quality, SDS may be able to assist you if you can provide the relevant documentation.

Saint Mary’s employees will not be expected to use vacation or sick leave for the closure of offices tomorrow. Additionally, supervisors should communicate with student workers so they are aware of office closures at the College.

Campus offices and classes will resume a regular schedule on Monday, November 19. We will continue to monitor the air quality and weather conditions throughout the weekend for any significant changes.

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Air Quality Alert: Campus Update regarding Classes and Offices

Nov. 15, 2018, 1:15 p.m.

Dear SMC Community,

Due to poor air quality conditions today, Saint Mary’s College of California is cancelling classes and outdoor activities for the remainder of Thursday Nov. 15, effective at 1:15 p.m.  The Incident Management Team (IMT) has been tracking the air quality index, and today’s index is in the red zone, categorized as unhealthy and is projected to worsen as the day unfolds.  

Air quality conditions will be monitored and IMT will send out an update for Friday’s status for the campus at 11 p.m. on Thursday evening.

College Offices will also be closed with the exception of critical student services which will have normal business hours (Health and Wellness Center, Public Safety, Dining Services/Cafe Louis). The Library will be open until 7 p.m.  The Reference Desk staff will be available in person 5 p.m. and then remotely until 9 p.m. Please see the Library website for more information.

Supervisors of critical services please be mindful of postponing outdoor activity until the air quality improves.  Additionally, employees will not be required to use vacation/sick leave for this day.  

Students are encouraged to remain inside with doors and windows closed. If you must go outside, community members are advised to use protective N95 masks, which are available for students at the Health and Wellness Center, and for faculty and staff at the Facilities Services Building, Warehouse 6 (behind the Power Plant).  

The next update is planned for 11 p.m. this evening regarding the status of classes and campus for Friday.