IC Alert: Air Quality Health Alert Continues for Ithaca and Surrounding Areas

By Samm Swarts, June 7, 2023

Ithaca College Community,

As has been communicated previously, Ithaca and surrounding areas continue to be under an Air Quality Index (AQI) Health Alert due to the wildfires impacting the Canadian province of Quebec. Earlier today, Tompkins County Whole Health (TCWH) announced that the local AQI has now moved to a “hazardous” level, the highest level since poor air quality began impacting the area earlier this week.

When the AQI reaches the hazardous level, New York State Department of Health recommends that all individuals avoid unnecessary exposure to the outdoors to minimize potential risk for adverse health impacts. If individuals must be outside for extended periods of time, it is strongly recommended that they utilize a N95 or KN95 mask to help mitigate inhalation of fine particles present in the air. Current forecast models indicate that poor air quality is expected to continue impacting our region for at least the next 48 hours.

While the AQI Alert remains in effect, employees whose primary job functions occur outdoors should continue to communicate with their supervisors regarding how to proceed in their work assignments for Thursday, June 8, and Friday, June 9, 2023. Additionally, individuals are strongly encouraged to continue to keep windows to their offices and residential spaces closed at all times.

Ithaca College will continue to provide free KN95 masks from its strategic stockpile for any individual who would like one. These masks can be picked up at the Public Safety Satellite Office located in the Campus Center Lobby and at the Circular Information Desk located on the Garden Level of the Peggy Ryan Williams Center. Ithaca College will also continue to offer extended open hours for the Campus Center for individuals seeking access to a space with circulated air conditioning. The Campus Center will be open until midnight (12:00 a.m. ET) on Wednesday, June 7, Thursday, June 8, and Friday, June 9.

Students experiencing medical issues should contact the Hammond Health Center at (607) 274-3177 for further assistance. Summer hours for the Hammond Health Center are Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For individuals experiencing a health emergency or requiring after-hours care, please visit the emergencies and after-hours care website.

I encourage members of our campus community to continue to stay informed with the latest TCWH updates during this ongoing situation. You can monitor the current AQI in your location at the following link. You can also utilize the sign up link to receive email and text alerts with the latest updates from TCWH.

Please continue to take good care.


Samm Swarts

Assistant Director, Emergency Preparedness and Response

Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management