Monday daytime classes canceled at UC Berkeley due to limited power

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Marc Fisher, UC Berkeley’s vice chancellor for administration, and Alicia Johnson, director of emergency management, issued the following message on Sunday morning. It was updated at 10:09 a.m. Monday to include more information for students, staff and faculty about the smoky conditions on campus

We are writing with an update about the PG&E power shut-off. But first, we must extend our best thoughts to employees who are themselves affected by the fires in Sonoma County or have family members who are affected.

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Information for students, researchers and Berkeley residents can be found at the bottom of this post.

PG&E disconnected power to the campus Saturday at 10:30 p.m. The adverse weather conditions (combination of heat and high winds) are forecast to persist through early Monday morning. PG&E estimates that they will begin inspecting power lines on Monday afternoon. Once that is complete, PG&E will begin the process of restoring power. Then, after power is restored, the campus then begins the process of reconnecting to the PG&E power supply. This entire multi-step process takes several hours.

For this reason, we have made the decision to cancel daytime classes on Monday. Instructors are encouraged to make adaptations whenever possible, according to their best judgement, consistent with campus guidelines.

We will open the Moffitt Library on Monday beginning at 8 a.m. We recognize the distress the current weather-related fire and PG&E power outage event is causing for those of you who wish to keep up with your studies. The Free Speech Movement Cafe will not be open.

Our Facilities Management staff have evaluated the extra load that opening the library will put on our limited power supply and have determined that we have the capacity to do this.

Meanwhile, UC Berkeley has been monitoring the air quality impacting the campus. Unfortunately, the air quality index (AQI) has exceeded 150, a level that is considered unhealthy. We encourage everyone to stay indoors to the extent possible.

Departments and instructors are encouraged to work creatively to make up the lost time or material by alternate means (as many are indeed doing already) rather than via rescheduled class meetings. Resources to this end are available through the Academic Innovation Studio and at the Berkeley Center for Teaching and Learning.

Whatever measures are taken should be implemented in a flexible manner that allows both students and instructors to adapt to their specific circumstances. Some scheduling conflicts (for example, with previously arranged qualifying examinations, etc.) will not be avoidable, and in other cases instructors may feel that their instructional goals may be better reached by adding office hours, supplemental asynchronous material via bCourses or through other resources.

We will send an update Monday before noon about evening classes and events. People should have plans in place in the event that campus remains closed through Monday night.

We anticipate to be back to normal, full operation on Tuesday.

For now, employees should avoid main campus. If employees have power at their homes and can work from home, they should do so, recognizing that many employees are unable to do their work from home. Many of our off-campus locations (e.g., Fourth Street, Golden Bear and Telegraph, etc.) do have power from city of Berkeley sources, so if they are able to, employees who work in those locations should report to work. Check with your manager if you have questions.

We realize that there are school and daycare center closures in the area and that many of our employees do not have power at their homes. We encourage managers and supervisors to be flexible with employees during this time. All employees will be paid for the work days that the power shut-off affected campus (Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Oct. 26-28).

A final reminder that given our limited power supply, everyone should avoid campus until power is fully restored and we have sent a message to that effect.

Thanks to everyone who has worked so diligently to maintain services to our students, protect the safety of our campus environment, and ensure the stability of our research enterprise. We look forward to resuming all campus activities on Tuesday.

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