Chief Human Resources Officer Nancy Resnick sent the following message concerning outdoor air quality to the campus community Sept. 4:
Wildfires around the Willamette Valley and recent weather have combined to bring severe smoke to the area. Our thoughts go out to the communities, some very near Eugene and on evacuation notice, that face the greatest threats from these wildfires.
Over the last week, the university has monitored local air quality to assess impact on operations.
The UO will operate on normal schedule. However, the smoke may affect indoor air quality and HVAC systems.
People with asthma or other serious medical concerns should work directly with supervisors to find appropriate remedies. Anyone experiencing health issues in the workplace related to air quality should also notify their supervisors. Supervisors will share mitigation steps and safety precautions with employees who typically work outdoors.
Employees who are unable to report to work due to weather or personal circumstances should coordinate with their supervisors and may use accrued vacation, compensatory time, exchange time, personal leave, or leave without pay to cover the missed work time, if applicable. Use of accrued sick leave is appropriate only in the case of illness.
Local smoke has been so extreme that some UO air handling systems interpret it as a building fire. These systems are performing as designed, and shut down building air circulation. UO employees have been monitoring and adjusting the systems to compensate, and resources have been concentrated to buildings with senstive equipment, laboratories, and animals.
Anyone who hears a building alarm should evacuate immediately, even if the cause may be wildfire smoke.
For more information on real time air quality, visit the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency website.
For more information on reducing the health effects of wildfire smoke, please visit the Oregon OSHA website: http://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/Preparedness/Prepare/Pages/PrepareForWildfire.aspx
Chief Human Resources Officer and Associate Vice President