The University of Idaho will hold its classes online today and Wednesday because of poor air quality caused by wildfire smoke that has blanketed the area.
UI canceled all classes and events Monday, and announced Monday evening that classes would be conducted in remote/online formats only today and Wednesday.
Also, the school closed the majority of buildings on its Moscow campus because of the effect the smoke is having on heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
“Due to high particulate matter and smoke in the air, the air handler filters and cells in many of our buildings are now clogging,” read an email sent to Moscow-based faculty, staff and students Monday. “To reduce the likelihood of mechanical failure, air handlers in most Moscow facilities will be shut down today and buildings closed.”
According to the email, the closures will remain in effect as long as regional air quality remains in the “unhealthy” range — meaning an Air Quality Index between 150 and 200. According to airnow.gov, Moscow’s air quality as of Monday afternoon lingered in the “very unhealthy” range with an AQI of 215. Air quality in the region is expected to remain in the “unhealthy” to “very unhealthy” range for the rest of the week.
All buildings that do not recirculate any indoor air or that supplement indoor air recirculation with fresh air outside are affected.
Exceptions to the building closures include residence halls, computer rooms and the Beowulf Center in the College of Engineering.