Poor air quality

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Pat Goff, Executive Director, Environmental Health & Safety, Office of Emergency Services

Smoke from the North Bay fires has caused our local air quality to worsen over the past few days. In close consultation with Student Health Center, we advise limiting physical activity outside and keeping building windows closed. In addition, Physical Plant Campus Services is assessing the operational impacts of shutting down air-handling units in buildings that have this capability. Where feasible, this action may be taken to reduce the amount of outside air that is being delivered. As conditions improve, employees will be encouraged to resume their regular duties outdoors.
If an employee has a chronic medical condition that may be exacerbated by the air quality, they are encouraged to follow their personal doctor's directions, and seek care in a timely manner if they have symptoms or concerns. Employees are advised to communicate and coordinate with their supervisors on any temporary accommodations that may be needed.
EPA maintains an Air Quality Guide for Particulate pollution. You can find it here. Currently, the Air Quality Index (AQI) for Santa Cruz is 111, which is in the “Unhealthy for sensitive groups” category.  EPA’s guidance for this index level is:
  • Sensitive groups: Avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. Consider moving activities indoors or rescheduling.
  • Everyone else: Reduce prolonged or heavy exertion. Take more breaks during outdoor activities.
Finally, Environmental Health and Safety will continue to monitor this situation and update the UC Santa Cruz community as substantive developments occur.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.