Resumption of Operations at Coastal Science Campus, Westside Research Park; emergency declaration modified

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Chancellor Cynthia Larive

Through the valiant efforts of Cal Fire and fire crews from across the state and region, the CZU Lightning Complex wildfire is now 21 percent contained. Conditions at the southern end of the fire continue to hold. Crews have been conducting burn operations near Felton as part of their perimeter control. This has impacted air quality throughout the campus and county.

Based on the latest conditions, I am modifying further the campus emergency declaration. Effective immediately, the Coastal Science Campus and Westside Research Park can resume operations that were in effect on Aug. 20, 2020, prior to campus declaration. Operations at those locations are still restricted to only those functions that were approved through the COVID-19 resumption process. Please know that the air quality at these two locations has been tested and the results are acceptable, but there will be a smoky smell.

We have begun a phased reopening of our residential campus. In the coming days, we expect to reopen buildings with research labs (only those that had been approved to open under COVID-19 restrictions) as well as campus residence halls and apartments, so that displaced students and staff can return. We also are focused on reopening campus kitchens so that Dining Services, currently operating from the Cocoanut Grove at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, can begin working again at the residential campus. 

At this time, with the exception of residents of Laureate Court, Hagar Court, Ranch View Terrace, Hagar Meadow, and Cardiff Terrace, no one should attempt to access the residential campus until informed that it is OK to do so.

Physical Planning, Development, and Operations (PPDO), Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) and the campus fire marshal must conduct critical facilities assessments and prepare buildings for a resumption of activities. Air-quality assessments also will be required. Where needed, air-quality mitigations will be implemented. The campus departments responsible for this work will undertake these activities as efficiently as possible, and future communications will announce the opening of additional locations. We also remain without power on parts of the campus including Family Student Housing. 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. We will provide updates as we learn more about PG&E’s progress in restoring power.

Whether or not these evacuations have impacted your offices, labs, homes (both on and off campus), I know these events have been difficult for many of you and your families. Like you, I look forward to being able to fully reopen campus to the extent it was before the evacuation. We will continue to keep you updated as conditions change. In the meantime, please continue to use our wildfire information site.