OSU campus and university operations in western Oregon will reopen Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, as hazardous and unhealthy wildfire smoke and ash conditions begin to diminish.

Until further notice, we ask that you not open exterior campus building windows and close exterior doors as quickly as possible upon entering or leaving a building.

During this time, we encourage you to remain mindful of your health, as well as the health of your family and friends, by adhering to public health advisories.

According to air quality monitoring sites in western Oregon, air quality in some locations will continue to improve tonight and tomorrow, while air quality in some locations will remain in the hazardous range. Meanwhile, rain is forecasted in western Oregon on Friday. In the meantime, please take care of yourselves.

Students

We recognize that exposure to hazardous and unhealthy air quality may be problematic for some students. If you feel it is safer to remain in your home communities, please do so. We strongly encourage that any outdoor activity be rescheduled or moved indoors where possible.

For students who perform university work or activity outdoors, if the local Air Quality Index (AQI) is above 150, reschedule the work or activity, if feasible, to a time when the air quality improves below an AQI of 151. If the work or activity cannot be rescheduled, N95 or alternative masks must be provided. During this time of persistent poor air quality, the university’s Environmental Health and Safety web page will provide daily updates regarding the AQI and information on whether N95 or alternative masks for outdoor work is required. Please refer to this website for how to access N95 or alternative masks, and other important considerations. For accommodations, please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access if you are working as an employee or the Department of Disability Access Services if you are a student.

Faculty and Staff

For information about the opening of specific Corvallis campus buildings, please contact your building manager. If you work off campus, please contact your local site manager. Managers of university locations outside of Corvallis campus are able to continue to make daily operational decisions to open or close a facility based on local smoke and ash conditions.  

OSU Facility Services personnel will continue to support HVAC systems during continued periods of outdoor poor air quality. If you prefer to continue to work remotely, please contact your supervisor.

For employees that perform university work or activity outdoors, if the local Air Quality Index (AQI) is above 150, reschedule the work or activity, if feasible, to a time when the air quality improves below an AQI of 151. If the work or activity cannot be rescheduled, N95 or alternative masks must be provided. During this time of persistent poor outdoor air quality, the university’s Environmental Health and Safety web page will provide daily updates regarding the AQI and information on whether N95 or alternative masks for outdoor work is required. Please refer to this website for how to access N95 or alternative masks, and other important considerations. For accommodations, please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access if you are an employee.

 


 

September 9, 2020 - 3:00 p.m.

OSU faculty, staff and students,

Due to prolonged smoke and ash conditions resulting from numerous wildfires in the Pacific Northwest, the following university facilities in western Oregon will close until further notice beginning at 3 p.m. today, Sept. 9, 2020:

  • All non-essential Corvallis campus educational, research, administrative, OSU Extension programs and campus operations. 
  • All non-essential Hatfield Marine Science Center operations in Newport. 
  • All non-essential county Extension offices and programs in western Oregon and all non-essential Agricultural Experiment Station operations in western Oregon.
  • The OSU Portland Center.

Essential operations at these university facilities will be designated by department managers and include on-going critical research, University Housing and Dining Services, public safety and facility services operations. Programs and centers serving children, including camps and child care centers on OSU’s Corvallis campus, will remain open today until designated parents or family members are able to pick-up their children.

Even while we prepare to close these operations, air quality in university buildings continues to meet federal and state standards. However, OSU is closing these facilities to enable university personnel to shut down air circulation systems in buildings that do not serve research activities that must be sustained or students within UHDS facilities. This will limit anticipated extensive damage to air circulation systems from infiltration of heavy ash and smoke residue. As a result and until further notice, all other non-essential OSU employees should work from home if their work can be performed remotely and with their supervisor’s knowledge. If an employee is unable to perform their work remotely, please see additional guidance as provided by on the Hazardous Conditions, Inclement Weather matrix.

During this air quality crisis, we encourage you to be mindful of your health, as well as the health of your family and friends, by adhering to public health advisories.

We acknowledge that this week’s fire-related impacts are occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic, and are affecting university community members and communities that OSU serves. For updated information about fires throughout Oregon, visit the Oregon Office of Emergency Management Facebook page. For air quality and smoke information, visit the AirNow website. You also may visit your local county website for other pertinent local information regarding emergency management and evacuations.

For additional support and confidential assistance, students should contact Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) at 541-727-2131 or visit the CAPS website for information about counseling services. Employees seeking confidential support may contact Beyond Benefits, OSU’s new employee assistance program, at 855-327-4722 or visit its website. Note that OSUbeyond is the organization web ID needed for initial registration for the Beyond Benefits program.

You may seek ways to help those directly affected by these wildfires. Anyone wishing to volunteer or contribute food or other supplies to evacuees located at the Benton County Fairgrounds should call 541-224-1339 or visit this website for more information. OSU employees living outside of Corvallis should visit their local county emergency operations website to provide assistance to others impacted by the fires.

According to air quality monitoring sites in western Oregon, air quality in some locations will improve some tonight and tomorrow while remaining in the hazardous range. In the meantime, please take care of yourselves.