Next phase of building resumption - additional buildings cleared to open

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Chancellor Cynthia Larive

Though the wildfire continues to burn in our county, it is now at 39% containment due to the heroic efforts of firefighters from across our region and state. Based on the latest status, I am lifting my Emergency Declaration that was issued on August 20th. Please note, however, that  consistent with my authority under Regents Bylaw 31 and Standing Order 100.6, except for those buildings I have explicitly identified as open, all other buildings remain closed until further notice following clearance by the Fire Marshal, EH&S, and Physical Plant Department. No one should attempt to access closed buildings.

Throughout the weekend, our campus crews from the Campus Fire Marshal, Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S), and our Physical Plant Department worked diligently to get additional buildings cleared for operational resumption as part of our wildfire recovery efforts. Their work includes assessing systems, cleaning facilities, and doing needed safety assessments. Much work lies ahead, and  I am pleased to report that another set of facilities is ready to open effective immediately. 

  • Barn H 

  • Communications Building

  • Engineering 2 

  • Earth and Marine Sciences 

  • Jack Baskin Engineering Building

  • Natural Sciences II 

  • Physical Sciences Building

  • Provost Houses (all are now ready for use)

  • Thimann

There are some very important things to remember as we resume operations in these locations:

  • Reopened locations may only resume operations that were in effect on Aug. 20, 2020, prior to the campus emergency declaration, and approved through the COVID-19 resumption process. 

  • Air quality remains a concern due to wildfires in the area. We continue to track air quality, and will utilize the UC guidance for addressing air quality to inform any subsequent actions we need to take. 

  • When Environmental Health & Safety clears a building, the air quality has been evaluated and is acceptable in accordance with occupational and environmental guidelines. However, smoke odors may still be present and air scrubbers may still be running in the hallways. Should your department need assistance with mitigating the smoke odor, please contact EH&S staff and they will assist you.

  • Please be mindful that due to the wildfire event and campus closure, the wildlife population on campus has increased. It's especially important to go slow on campus roadways and be aware when out on campus trails.  In addition to the turkeys and deer, we have seen an increase in the coyote, fox and other species throughout the campus.

  • METRO can resume operations later today. Specific schedules will be posted once verified. Campus transit will resume operations tomorrow (9.1.20). 

  • Unless you are heading to one of the buildings that has been cleared for resumption, do not attempt to access other facilities on campus. 

Teams are working to get residential space ready so that residential staff can return and then we can move students back on campus. We continue to ensure that students who were living on campus and evacuated are supported and have a place to stay while we work to reopen student housing. Family Student Housing receives power from a different grid than the rest of the campus and remains without electricity. Though we are engaged in conversations with Pacific Gas and Electric Co., they have not yet been able to give us a timeline for when power will be restored. Residents should not attempt to access housing until facilities have been cleared for operational resumption.

I remain so grateful for your patience as we work through our operational recovery efforts. As additional buildings are cleared for resumption, we will let you know. For up to date information on all of our wildfire response and recovery efforts, please continue to visit our wildfire information site.