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wildfire respite is moving to Stevenson Union

SOU exploring all options to help students, employees and community through wildfires

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University has been exploring for the past week how its facilities and resources can best benefit students, employees and community members who have been affected by the recent wildfires.

SOU is currently offering daily respite and support from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Lithia Motors Pavilion for those who need to regroup in an air-conditioned facility with bathrooms, water and WiFi. Those services will transition to the Stevenson Union’s Rogue River Room on Thursday, Sept. 17.

The university’s Student and Family Housing units are fully occupied and its residence halls are already beginning to receive a reduced number of new, appropriately distanced students for fall term, which begins Sept. 23. Emergency shelter is being provided in SOU’s remaining, habitable residence halls for employees and students who have been displaced from their homes. A fire relief fund has been initiated for those who would like to make donations to support SOU students affected by the wildfires.

SOU representatives are also actively working with city, county, state and federal agencies to determine whether additional shelter can be provided in other SOU facilities. However, the university must be able to ensure the well-being of those housed on its campus and is urging patience as those options are pursued.

All wildfire responses by the university are in accordance with state guidelines – including social distancing and face-covering requirements – that have been imposed to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

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SOU football game moved due to health concerns


NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/bLZfAU)
(Ashland, Ore.) — Concerns for the health of participants and fans have resulted in the postponement and relocation of Southern Oregon University’s season-opening football game with Eastern Oregon University, which had been scheduled for Thursday evening in Ashland. The game will instead be played Saturday at a neutral site: Sherwood High School, just southwest of Portland.
Air Quality Index (AQI) readings earlier this week in Ashland consistently registered near the high end of the “unhealthy” level, at which everyone is advised to reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion. For example, the AQI on Wednesday afternoon was 193 – just seven points below the “very unhealthy” level, at which people from all age groups are susceptible to serious health effects.
Ashland’s air quality had improved on Thursday morning, but SOU Athletic Director Matt Sayre pointed out that conditions could change rapidly.
“What we know at this point is the fire in Brookings is still raging and there is still a better-than-average chance any game we schedule here could be smoked out,” Sayre said. “We had to make a decision at least two days in advance because of travel for both teams and the immense amount of effort that goes into producing a college football game, and we aren’t in a position to play chicken with the smoke and the health of our student-athletes.”
SOU considered various rescheduling scenarios before settling on the offer to play at 6 p.m. Saturday in Sherwood’s Aaron J. Contreras Memorial Stadium. All previously purchased SOU-EOU tickets will be valid, and tickets will also be sold prior to the game at Sherwood High.
Refunds are available for those who previously purchased single-game tickets online for the SOU home game but cannot attend the contest in Portland. Those wishing to be refunded should contact the SOU athletic office from 8 to 11:30 a.m., Monday through Friday, at (541) 552-6772.
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About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power. It is the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.