December 9, 2017

Dear Members of our Campus Community,

I am writing on this Saturday afternoon to provide a quick update on our response to theThomas fire as we continue to monitor the situation, with the health and safety of our students and our community foremost in our minds.

Senior administrators, faculty, deans, campus health officials, and student leadership are meeting around-the-clock to assess the most updated information available from government officials, health officials, and emergency experts. The fire remains outside of Santa Barbara County, and poses no threat to our physical campus. Firefighting teams continue to make progress toward containment, and because of the safety of our location we continue to serve as a Red Cross shelter. Although air quality in our area has improved, we expect it to continue to fluctuate, and we are continuing to provide masks to anyone on campus who wants one.

We continue to post updated information to the website. We have worked with our faculty and Academic Senate leadership in close consultation with student leadership on the plan for finals week, which was announced yesterday. This plan was developed in response to the extraordinary circumstances we face, to accommodate both those students who have expressed a desire to take regularly-scheduled finals as well as those who have reasons for missing their exams.

We know that this plan will require flexibility and additional work for our faculty, staff, and students, and we are deeply grateful for all those who are working hard to make accommodations. Students who have concerns about their health or safety and are planning to leave campus may do so, and should contact their course instructors directly about making accommodations, before their scheduled final. Faculty with questions about accommodations should contact their department chair.

I again extend my sincere appreciation to our entire campus community and to all our first responders for their extraordinary efforts to respond to this difficult situation. We will continue to provide regular updates as necessary.

With deep appreciation,

Henry T. Yang