Resources For Those Affected By California Fires

 Dozens of people have been killed and thousands of residents displaced by the Camp Fire in Butte County, north of Sacramento. Smoke from the fire continues to affect the Bay Area.

Please see below for information on how to help families affected by the fire, information on wildfire preparedness, and a list of USF resources for students, faculty, and staff.

Visit airnow.gov and baaqmd.gov for air quality forecasts in the Bay Area.

If you have suggestions or information for this page, please contact webservices@usfca.edu

Update for USF Community - Monday, November 19

Dear USF Community,

I hope you, your families, and your neighbors have been keeping safe during the air quality issues we are experiencing in the area. I thank you for all you have done in the past week to support our community during these challenging times. 

As I reported to you previously, scheduled classes at all campuses (except Orange County) were canceled through Wednesday, Nov. 21. The university closed campus on the afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 15 and all day Friday, Nov. 16, but did not cease operations. Although classes were canceled, the community continued its important work either on campus supporting essential on-campus operations or remotely in support of USF’s general operations.

Air quality has improved in Northern California, and is currently below our baseline 200 AQI for “very unhealthy.” Forecasts indicate that the AQI should fall further in the coming days, and should reach normal ranges by Wednesday, with the arrival of rain and wind.  

On Monday, Nov. 19, although there are no classes (except at the Orange County Campus), the University of San Francisco campuses will be open and operating.

Over the coming days, the university will continue to consult with experts and collaborate across divisions and departments. We will monitor air quality and inform you of the daily operating status of the university.

As you know, some students remain on campus, and regular meeting schedules, faculty and administrative responsibilities, and critical deadlines still need to be met.  Despite the cancelation of classes and curtailment of campus activities, we must maintain operations.

However, in these challenging times and with the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I am aware that we may need to make adjustments to your work responsibilities and normally required presence on campus. As always, faculty and staff should be in touch with their deans, supervisors, and managers about resources and responsibilities.  Some divisions and departments, as well as some operations, may be on modified or reduced schedules given the specific circumstances facing those areas. That information will be shared as and when it is available.

All faculty and staff are expected to carry on the work they can do either from campus or remotely as arranged with their deans and supervisors. Those faculty and staff who were previously scheduled to be on vacation or leave should proceed with that leave or vacation. All faculty and staff who need to take leave as a result of the air quality or any health issue should make arrangements with their deans or supervisors to do so.

Reports of deaths and loss from the Camp Fire continue to be devastating. The fire is about 60 percent contained and could burn for another two weeks. Hundreds are still missing. During these frightening days, we reach out in consolation and support to all who have been affected by this disaster. Please be reminded that the myUSF resource page includes some suggestions for how members of our community can help the areas that have been most severely impacted by the fires. 

This has been an unprecedented event for USF, requiring consultation, collaboration, and consideration. Thank you for your continued patience and support. And thank you for all you do for the University of San Francisco.

Best,
Donald E. Heller
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs 

P.S.  Please note that on Monday, Nov. 19, all exterior doors to campus buildings will only be available by swipe card access.

Update for USF Community - Saturday, November 17

New update as of 6:30 p.m. — Market Cafe will operate on a weekend schedule through Wednesday, Nov. 21. Outtakes Cafe will open for Store Grab and Go Monday through Wednesday. View more details, including the schedule for the Thanksgiving holiday »

Update for USF Community - Friday, November 16

 

New update as of 6:30 p.m. —

Dear USF Community,

Due to continued unhealthy air quality in San Francisco and Northern California, classes scheduled on Monday, Nov. 19 through Wednesday, Nov. 21 are canceled in San Francisco and all other Northern California locations (Hilltop, 101 Howard, Pleasanton, Sacramento, San Jose, and Santa Rosa). For those classes that meet fully online, your professor will be in touch about class meetings. Most campus student activities are also canceled during this period. This decision has been made taking into account the uncertainty over the air quality into next week, along with a desire to provide our students and their families as much advance notice as possible about our class schedule, so plans can be made accordingly.

University residence and dining halls will continue to operate and be open for students who choose to stay on campus through the Thanksgiving break. Public Safety has disposable respirator N95 masks for those whose health requires them. Employees and students at other campus locations should contact those campus directors for information about obtaining masks. 

A decision regarding university operations (other than classes) for faculty and staff next Monday will be communicated no later than 3 p.m. on Sunday.  
 
We thank you for your patience as we have dealt with this difficult situation, and we will communicate with updates as additional information becomes available. Your health and safety is our highest priority.

Please continue to reference the resource page on myUSF.

Donald E. Heller
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

New update as of 2 p.m.

Dear USF Community,

Due to continued unhealthy air quality in San Francisco and the Bay Area, classes scheduled on Saturday, Nov. 17 and Sunday, Nov. 18 are canceled in San Francisco and all other Northern California locations (Hilltop, 101 Howard, Pleasanton, Sacramento, and San Jose; no weekend classes are scheduled in Santa Rosa).

Most campus activities are also canceled on both Saturday, Nov. 17 and Sunday, Nov. 18. Nonessential employees should not report to campus to work. Student services, including residential and dining services, are continuing as normal.

The university will provide another operational update later today.

Looking toward next week, we are relying on air quality data and weather forecasts that are fluctuating. We understand community members are eager to make plans and know schedules related to classes and work responsibilities. We thank you for your patience and will communicate campus updates about next week with as much notice as possible. Your health and safety is our highest priority.

Please continue to reference the resource page on myUSF.

Donald E. Heller
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs 

Update for USF Community - Thursday, November 15

New update as of 7 p.m. — Friday's men's basketball game against Arizona State slated for a 6:00 p.m. tip has been postponed due to the air quality levels which have risen to unhealthy levels in the greater Bay Area.

New update as of 6 p.m. — While classes and most activities at the USF Hilltop campus are canceled on Thursday, Nov 15 and Friday, Nov. 16, dining services are open and operating normal hours during this time.

New update as of 4:15 p.m. — Updated Health and Safety Information

New update as of 2:30 p.m.

Dear USF Community,

Based on air quality forecasts and the AQI currently above 200 in San Francisco, the university will cancel classes effective immediately at all of our Northern California locations (Hilltop, 101 Howard, Santa Rosa, Sacramento, Pleasanton, and San Jose).  Classes will also be canceled through Friday.

Administrative offices will also be closed through Friday. All campus activities will be canceled with the exception of the men’s basketball game on Friday evening.   
 
All nonessential personnel are released from their duties at this time, and through tomorrow.  Because of the residential nature of our campus, essential student services (including dining) will continue. 

Any employee with questions about their assignment should check with their supervisor.  If hourly employees have questions about pay status, please contact Diane Nelson in Human Resources.

An update about campus operations will be provided tomorrow.  Please visit the myUSF resource page for additional information and messages about campus.

Donald E. Heller
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs 

New update as of 11:45 a.m.

Dear USF Community,

In my capacity as acting president while Fr. Fitzgerald is traveling outside the country on university business, I am writing to provide you with an update and more information regarding the status of university operations. The university’s Emergency Management Team has been meeting multiple times a day to assess the air quality in San Francisco and at our other campus locations to determine the best course of action for our community.  So far our San Francisco campuses have remained open, while we have intermittently closed other campus locations.  The Pleasanton and Sacramento campuses are closed today.

The health alert associated with the Air Quality Index (AQI) in San Francisco as of the time of this writing states: “Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should avoid prolonged outdoor exertion; everyone else, especially children, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.”  Note that this alert does not recommend that people stay indoors; it warns against “prolonged outdoor exertion.”  We have taken the steps necessary to cancel outdoor activities for University Athletics and at the Koret Center when the AQI exceeds acceptable levels.  After speaking this morning with USF’s medical consultant (who is chief physician at St. Mary’s Medical Center-Dignity Health) we have determined it is safe for the vast majority of our community to attend classes and participate in indoor activities on campus. 

If the AQI as reported on government websites (airnow.gov and baaqmd.gov) exceeds 200 in San Francisco, we will reassess our operating status. 

Public Safety has disposable respirator N95 masks for those whose health requires them. Employees and students at other campus locations should contact those campus directors for information about obtaining masks. Because of limited supplies of masks throughout the region, we are asking only those people with respiratory or other health conditions to request masks.

In prior communications, we have asked students with health issues that would interfere with their ability to attend class to contact their professors, as they should with any illness impacting their class attendance. We have reminded our faculty of their obligation to accommodate any student with an illness that interferes with class attendance. Students can contact CASA if they need assistance with class accommodations.  Similarly, employees have been instructed to discuss with their supervisors any health-related absences from work.  Your health and safety is our highest priority, and is central to our institutional commitment to the values and principles of our Jesuit mission. 

Some in the community have noted that San Francisco State University has announced it was closing as of yesterday afternoon, and have questioned why USF has not similarly closed.  We have noted that like USF, the other colleges and the school district in the city of San Francisco — and the vast majority of businesses and other organizations — are still open and operating. This includes UCSF, the health sciences campus of the University of California. 

We recommend you continue to monitor air quality via sites of official government agencies such as airnow.gov and baaqmd.gov, and not rely on crowd-sourced sites for which there is no oversight. Please take safety precautions and keep doors and windows closed.  We will continue to monitor the conditions across all of our campuses, and will update you should there be a need to change our operating status. You can also get updates on the myUSF resource page

Finally, as you know, dozens of people have been killed, hundreds are still missing, and thousands of structures have been destroyed. During these terrible and frightening days, we reach out in consolation and support to all who have been affected by this natural disaster.  Please be reminded that the myUSF resource page includes some suggestions for how members of our community can help the areas that have been most severely impacted by the fires. 

Donald E. Heller
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs 

New update as of 9:30 a.m. — Pleasanton and Sacramento campuses are closed today.

Update for USF Community - Wednesday, November 14

New update as of 4 p.m.  — Classes at the Sacramento campus are canceled this evening and through noon tomorrow, November 15.  All other campuses are open.

New update as of 9 a.m. — Based on air quality forecasts, all USF campuses remain open.

Update for USF Community - Tuesday, November 13

New update as of 5 p.m. — Based on air quality forecasts, all USF campuses will be open Wednesday, November 14.  

Update for USF Community - Monday, November 12

New update as of 5:30 p.m. — Based on air quality forecasts, the Sacramento Campus and the Santa Rosa Campus will be open on Tuesday, November 13.

***

The Sacramento Campus is currently closed. N95 masks are being provided at all open City of Sacramento fire stations.

We are closely following news reports from Butte County, and are concerned about all those affected and displaced by the fire. Our thoughts are with them and with our emergency responders. Please continue to attend to your own safety as Northern California experiences smoke and unhealthy air quality.

 

Update for USF Community - Sunday, November 11

Air quality in the Bay Area has improved over the weekend, but as of this evening is fluctuating between unhealthy and unhealthy for sensitive groups, with an AQI of 159 in San Francisco, 151 in Santa Rosa, and 180 in Sacramento. These numbers will continue to vary. Continue to visit airnow.gov and baaqmd.gov for air quality forecasts in the Bay Area.

Based on current forecasts, tomorrow, Monday, November 12, classes and activities will proceed as scheduled on all campuses. 

Employees with special needs related to air quality should discuss them with their supervisor.

Students who choose not to attend class because of health concerns should work with their professors, just as they would with any other health issue.

Please continue to monitor air quality and take safety precautions. Keep doors and windows closed.

Health and Safety Info:

(Updated November 17, 2018)

With air quality conditions still in various stages of “unhealthy” in Northern California, USF’s medical director (who is chief physician at St. Mary’s Medical Center-Dignity Health) has the following guidance regarding outdoor activity and use of respiratory masks:

  1. Our absolute best guidance is to limit outdoor exposure and to avoid strenuous or prolonged outdoor activity. This is particularly true for people with asthma and other respiratory illnesses. 
  2. If you are intending to be outside for prolonged periods you may wish to consider using a protective mask.  The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and the California Department of Public Health recommend “N95” respirators or “P100” masks.  These simple masks are intended to reduce hazardous and tiny particulate matter. Read more information on respiratory masks »
  3. Once you find the right kind of mask, it’s also important to wear it correctly.  See this link for instructions »
  4. The mask should have two straps. One strap should be placed below the ears and one above. And the mask should seal tightly to your face. If there’s a gap, air will come through the gap.
  5. If for any reason you have difficulty breathing or become dizzy, remove the mask.

How you can help:

This partial list was compiled from The New York Times, Sacramento Bee, and ABC 7.

Organizations seeking monetary donations:

Organizations seeking volunteers:

Butte County Emergency Services is using Caring Choices in Chico to coordinate emergency volunteers. Those wishing to volunteer should contact Caring Choices by calling 530-899-3873 or visiting them at 1398 Ridgewood in Chico.

Organizations seeking material donations:

  • The Butte County Fairgrounds in Gridley need these donations: New towels and new clothing in all sizes, including shoes, undergarments, sweatshirts, and bras. They do not currently need food or water. 
  • The Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds in Yuba City is in need of pet food and supplies (collars, leashes), cat litter, food bowls for animals, and hay for livestock. These can be dropped off at the livestock area of the fairgrounds.
  • The Yuba-Sutter Habitat For Humanity in Marysville is accepting material donations like clothing and shoes. Address: 202 D St., Marysville, CA 95901
  • The Sutter Fire Department is taking donations of paper cups, paper plates, paper towels, animal food, new jackets, new coats, and bottled water. Address: 2340 California St., Sutter, CA 95982
  • Hope Center in Oroville is taking donations of warm clothes, shoes, socks, and coats (primarily for elderly residents). Address: 1950 Kitrick Ave Ste A, Oroville, CA 95966

Resources for students:

New update as of Friday, November 16

If you are experiencing academic difficulty during this time please contact your Academic Success Coach in the Center for Academic and Student Achievement (CASA). You can contact your CASA coach through e-mail or visiting https://myusf.force.com to request an appointment. 

If you are a residential student and at any time would like to speak with someone, please contact your resident adviser (RA), or the front desk of your building to get you in touch with an on-call staff member.

If you are a non-residential student and you would like to speak with someone, contact Public Safety Dispatch at (415) 422-4201 to be connected to an on-call staff member. 

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), located on the first floor of Gillson Hall, is available if you would like to discuss how you are feeling with a professional therapist. Call (415) 422-6352 during normal business hours to make an appointment.

ProtoCall is the after-hours support and consultation line. You can contact ProtoCall and speak to a live on-call counselor by calling (415) 422-6352 and pressing Option #2. Beginning the evening of Thursday, October 12 to Monday, October 16 at 8am ProtoCall will be available for 24 hours each day.

University Ministry support services are also available to all community members. They can be reached at (415) 422-4463.

For students who have been impacted by the fires, please contact the Dean of Students Office at (415) 422-5330 or send an e-mail to deanofstudents@usfca.edu.

Resources for faculty and staff:

New Update as of Friday, November 16

Update from Human Resources on University Closure »

University Ministry support services are also available to all community members. They can be reached at (415) 422-4463.

Faculty and staff members can contact CONCERN, the university's employee assistance program, at (800) 344-4222.

USF Office of Human Resources is available to help coordinate assistance for faculty and staff who have been affected by the fires. Please contact Martha Peugh-Wade at (415) 422-2444 or send an email to humanresources@usfca.edu.

What steps you should take in the event of a wildfire or other emergency:

Subscribe to your local emergency notification system for immediate alerts and information. For the City and County of San Francisco, you can subscribe here.

Sign up for text alerts through AlertSF by texting AlertSF to 888-777 or visiting: www.alertsf.org

Update your own emergency preparedness checklist
http://www.sf72.org/home
https://www.usfca.edu/public-safety/disaster-preparedness

Please be aware of the impact the air quality, smoke, and ash can have on your health:

Last updated: 11/18/18