The air quality in and around the three colleges of the San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) remains in the Unhealthy to Sensitive Groups range (100-151). This air quality is acceptable. However, there may be a risk for some people, particularly those who are unusually sensitive to air pollution. The District will continue evaluating the AQI and weather patterns, and will update the community as needed. The following information is from the American Lung Association: https://www.lung.org/blog/poor-air-quality-protection
Who is considered in a sensitive group?
High risk groups include children under 18, the elderly, people with chronic heart or lung disease, pregnant people, and people with diabetes. Adults who are active outdoors, including outdoor workers and avid exercisers, can be considered at higher risk as well because of prolonged exposure. All these groups are most likely to be the first to experience the effects of ozone and particle pollution, so they need to take extra steps to protect themselves from harm.
What can you do to stay safe from poor air quality?
Air pollution can threaten anyone’s health, so stay up to date on the AQI in your area. AQI forecasts and real-time information can be found on EPA’s AirNow Website. AQI values at or below 100 are generally thought of as satisfactory but be aware of how you feel and take steps to help protect yourself whenever needed.
On days when the air quality is orange, red, purple or maroon:
Reduce the time you spend outdoors to under 30 minutes when AQI is high. Also, reduce the intensity of outdoor activity. According to the EPA, the chances of being affected by unhealthy levels of air pollution increase the longer a person is active outdoors and the more strenuous the activity.
If you must go outdoors, consider wearing a mask. Unfortunately, not all masks are created equal when it comes to particle pollution as a cloth or dust mask are not able to filter out the fine particles. However, well-fitted N95 or KN95 masks have better filtration capabilities and may be beneficial during high AQI days. The District has N95 respirators available at campus public safety offices, health centers, and bookstores.
Keep your air indoors healthy by keeping the windows and doors closed. Run the air conditioning on the recirculate setting, use a portable HEPA air cleaner or, in severe circumstances, creating a clean room.
Here are some simple, effective tips for protecting you and your family from the dangers of outdoor air pollution:
Check daily air pollution forecasts in your area. The color-coded forecasts can let you know when the air is unhealthy in your community. Sources include local radio and TV weather reports, newspapers and online at airnow.gov.
Avoid exercising outdoors when pollution levels are high. When the air is bad, move your workout indoors, like walking in a shopping mall or using a gym. Limit the amount of time your child spends playing outdoors if the air quality is unhealthy. And even if the air quality forecasts are green, avoid exercising near high-traffic areas, because the vehicles on busy highways can create high pollution levels nearby.
Use less energy in your home. Generating electricity and other sources of energy creates air pollution. By reducing energy use, you can help improve air quality, curb greenhouse gas emissions, encourage energy independence and save money! Check out the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s easy tips for conserving energy at home.
Encourage your child’s school to reduce exposure to school bus emissions. To keep exhaust levels down, schools should not allow school buses to idle outside of their buildings. Many school systems are using the U.S. EPA’s Clean School Bus Program to replace diesel buses with zero emissions buses.
Walk, bike or carpool. Combine trips. Use buses, subways, light rail systems, commuter trains or other alternatives to driving your car.
Don’t burn wood or trash. Burning firewood and trash are among the major sources of particle pollution in many parts of the country.
Use hand-powered or electric lawn care equipment rather than gasoline-powered. Old two-stroke engines like lawnmowers and leaf or snow blowers add pollution to the air.
Be ready for disasters that impact air quality, like wildfires. Learn how to prepare for wildfire smoke, extreme heat and cold, storms and more with our resources.
Protect your indoor air quality too. Learn how to make sure the air you breathe indoors is clean.
Raise your voice. We can all take steps to reduce pollution and avoid exposure, but we need our policymakers at every level of government to prioritize clean air. Get involved by checking out our Healthy Air Campaign, where you can send messages to decision-makers and share your story.
San Mateo County is experiencing sustained unhealthy Air Quality Index (AQI) levels. Cañada College, College of San Mateo, Skyline College, and the District Office are closed today for day and evening in-person instruction and services.
All day and evening in-person classes are canceled today, Wednesday, September 20. All offices and in-person services are closed. Remote services and online instruction will continue as scheduled.
A decision regarding operations tomorrow, Thursday, September 21, will be made by 6 pm this evening.
SMCCCD Emergency Services relies on air quality data sources, including AirNow, PurpleAir, and IQ Air, to calculate an average reading and ensure accurate assessment.
All essential employees scheduled to work on campuses or at the District Office today/tonight should still come to work. The campuses are still open, and office spaces are accessible. N95 respirators are recommended when working outdoors and are available at Public Safety.
For all other employees scheduled to work on campus or at the District Office, today will be a remote workday. All meetings and appointments should be converted to virtual meetings if possible and appropriate. If you have questions about your work assignment, please contact your supervisor.
Official updates will continue to come from SMCCCD Emergency Alerts through AlertMe and SMCCD Alert email. Emergency Alerts are also posted on the SMCCCD Emergency Notification site.
The San Mateo County Community College District is actively monitoring air quality in the Bay Area and will provide regular updates to our community. To ensure accurate assessments, we rely on a combination of air quality data sources, including AirNow, PurpleAir, and IQ Air, to calculate an average reading.
The Air Quality Index (AQI) for Skyline College stands at 167, while the College of San Mateo has an AQI of 150. The air quality is deteriorating at both locations, and has now reached the “Unhealthy” category on the AQI scale, posing health risks for everyone present at these sites.
College of San Mateo and Skyline College
All current outdoor classes/events at CSM and Skyline College need to be curtailed, and all scheduled outdoor classes/events are cancelled for the evening of September 19th, 2023 due to poor air quality. All indoor instruction will continue as scheduled.
Athletic Centers will message their fitness communities, and essential workers on site shall modify their work assignments per supervisor’s discretion for health/safety.
Cañada College remains in the “Moderate” at 86. All indoor and outdoor activities/operations will continue as planned.
We will update the campus communities before 7:00am tomorrow September 20, 2023
Crews are currently restoring power to the Skyline campus and in-person classes and business operations will remain closed this afternoon. Skyline College campus will reopen for in-person classes and business operations at 5 p.m., today, Monday, July 10, 2023.
Online classes will continue as regularly scheduled.
This morning, the District was informed by the Hayward Police Department that Vaughn Boatner, a CSM Athletic Center employee, was suspected of homicide and is armed and dangerous. Upon learning this information, the suspect was placed on leave, prohibited from accessing campus, and had his badge deactivated. The U.S. Marshals Service is currently searching for him, and anyone who sees him or is in contact with him is advised to call 911 immediately.
Cooperating with local law enforcement, we shared the timely public safety alert in an earlier message to keep the District community informed. We have no information indicating a current threat from the suspect, but out of an abundance of caution, Public Safety has increased its presence on the CSM campus.
This news is very difficult for our district community and our hearts go out to the victims and their families. We also know how difficult this is for those who worked with or knew Vaughn. Please understand that the District community is here for you in addition to other employee resources like Claremont EAP or student resources like CSM’s Personal Counseling & Wellness Services and Timely Care.
Due to a power outage on Cañada College campus will remain closed until at least 5pm on Tuesday March 14th, 2023 for classes and business operations. Essential employees such as Public Safety, facilities and ITS are to report to work. Employees and Students work remotely/online during regularly schedule hours if possible
We will re-evaluate evening in-person courses that take place on campus between 5pm and 1030 pm. We are continuing to evaluate if there will be evening in-person classes and will update as soon as more information becomes available.
Weather and safety conditions have improved. All outdoor activities may resume with caution . Please drive safely on campus roads, and avoid driving through standing water. The San Mateo County Community College District will continue to send emergency notifications and updates as needed. Below is a current radar of the Bay Area storm cell.