Winter Storm Updates
Updated February 22nd @4:30pm
As the Texas sun regains its strength here in San Antonio, bringing with it our normal, mild winter days, we are still seeing the effects of last week’s cold snap across our campuses. The steady, frigid temperatures damaged our systems in a way that will take days, if not weeks, to repair, though we’ve found short term solutions to keep our residents safe and comfortable until these systems can be brought back to their optimal level of functionality.
As of today, we have twelve broken air handlers. While all apartments are back online with heat, these air handlers are affecting the heating capabilities of public spaces at West and cooling abilities of the High Rise and Mid Rise at East, something they will need soon. Our team will have them corrected shortly, and fortunately, temperatures are currently mild.
The dining room at West suffered damage due to broken pipes in the fire suppression system and the hot and cold water lines in the kitchen. Despite the damage and loss of power, last week dining staff were able to provide hot meals, cooking with the available gas stoves and head lamps. Our teams are working to return dining to normal operation.
Lastly, the pools at both campuses suffered from broken pipes and will be out of commission until they can be fixed. It’s important to remember that homes and facilities like ours across the state are dealing with many of the same issues, and both parts and outside contractors may be in short supply.
Thank you for following our Winter Updates. If Blue Skies is challenged with unusual situations in the future, we will again post a special update here on our website.
Updated February 21st @3:00pm
The sunny, blue skies have continued today, along with warmer temperatures. Our priority remains the safety and comfort of our residents. As we conclude the repairs to individual units, we are also looking ahead to what is next in the recovery process. Now is when we begin substantial repairs to systems that were affected throughout the week, including water and electrical lines.
Since the lingering issues from the storm are (thankfully) dwindling, we will just give one general update below that includes information pertaining to both campuses and licensed facilities. While generators are on standby, all licensed facilities are running smoothly from the power grid. We continue to have plenty of personal protective equipment (PPE), linens, and medications, and both campuses have restored heat! However, our Maintenance team is still working around the clock to troubleshoot a few remaining apartment issues caused by last week’s fluctuating temperatures. We are regularly connecting with these residents to ensure that they have what they need, offering alternate accommodations until we can resolve the outstanding issues. The Boil Water Order from San Antonio Water System has ended, so all residents once again have safe water within their individual homes.
Please note that as of last evening’s update, external phone lines have been restored. To contact the front desks, please use the regular phone numbers listed below:
East Campus: 210-673-2761 West Campus: 210-677-8666
Updated February 20th @6:15pm
With highs reaching the 60s, the clear, sunny skies warming our Blue Skies campuses would make it seem this is just another typical winter day in San Antonio. The lingering snow tells a different story, reminding us of our staff’s tireless efforts. The sunshine also foretells what is ahead.
East: Temperatures remain steady in the High Rise, and our dogged maintenance team has now returned heat to our Midrise. Our team is now only addressing a few individual heating issues, and all who need it have warm places to go.
West: Our Maintenance team has made strides today in bringing back heat to resident apartments inside the main building. Only a couple of cantankerous heating units require individual attention. The temperature in the hallways has risen due to the practically balmy day coupled with heat restoration, and staff cheered this evening as the front desk phone lines were restored.
Updated February 20th @10:15am
The sun has risen and melted away the below-freezing temperatures here in South Texas, but lingering snow and other evidence of the weather event remain all around San Antonio. In our healthcare facilities, the last few employees who had stayed on campus left after serving breakfast to their residents, and all seems par for the course for a “normal” Saturday during a pandemic. For both campuses, dining is well stocked and staffed, despite shortages at the grocery stores. We are thankful our residents do not have to brave the roads or crowded stores to have a hot, nutritious meal.
East: On the East campus, those without heat in the High Rise were pleased to feel warmth blow into their apartments at 8:30pm last night, and it’s held steady. The handful without heat in the Midrise were given alternate accommodations. The outside contractor technicians who helped fix these issues are heading to the West campus this morning to assist with the more complex heating arrangement on that campus.
West: Maintenance worked tirelessly through the night, and though heat was restored to two dozen homes, several others lost it. With East holding steady, the Maintenance team has combined with outside reinforcements to tackle the issues thwarting the West campus. Thankfully, the surrounding homes continue to function properly, and staff continue to contact each affected resident to offer alternate quarters and warming stations, ensuring everyone’s safety and comfort. While phones are now working internally, including the emergency alert system, the campus is still unable to send or receive calls outside its walls. Staff are all working overtime to resolve these issues, and we know it will be a few more days until we are in the clear.
Updated February 19th @7:30pm
After a mostly quiet day, Blue Skies residents are looking forward to the last night of freezing temperatures here in South Texas. Our healthcare facilities are well stocked with fresh linens and medications, and there are no temperature concerns within their walls. All are grateful that the lights are on at both campuses.
East: On this sunny day, most residents at the East campus stayed in their rooms, though some ventured out for a warm meal. A number are still without heat in the high-rise building, but today’s full sun heated rooms and refreshed outlooks. Dining staff reported that many residents were giving fist and elbow bumps in thanks for their hard work, and one resident even bought flowers for a staff member to show his appreciation. The Wellness team went door to door to each apartment, condo, and cottage to check on people. Those without heat continue to utilize personal heaters and the seven hospitality-turned-warming rooms, but the technicians onsite are confident that all heat will be restored later this evening.
West: Dining had a busy day, offering full lunch and dinner services despite the cold corridors. Homes around the campus continue to have heat and power, and internet was even restored to the campus. Wellness walked to each home, ensuring the well-being of our residents. Back in the towers, some apartments and corridors still struggle to bring in heat. Because each apartment has its own HVAC system, it is taking some time to restore the warmth to those without. That being said, our staff technicians are aware of every home in need and plan to work as long into the night as possible to help as many residents as they can. All have been offered warming rooms or alternate quarters, and many neighbors have opened their homes to their friends.
Updated February 19th @11:30am
The power continues to circulate at both our campuses, keeping morale bright. Broken pipes and buildings meant to release, not save, heat during normal Texas weather continue to provide obstacles, but innovative solutions and persistence have been the hallmarks of the Blue Skies family.
Healthcare: In our licensed healthcare facilities, temperatures remained toasty for residents, and staff cheered as backup fuel arrived for generators. While the facilities have not lost power in over 24hrs, Blue Skies leadership is making sure we are again prepared for the worst. All facilities have plenty of linens and medications, and laughter resonated through hallways as residents gathered around movies and meals.
East: Staff and residents were grateful for an uneventful night of rest. While a few residents remain without heat due to weather-related pump damage, all affected were given either space heaters or other accommodations to keep them warm throughout the evening. Dining is again ready to serve meals despite the water boil ordinance, and with more housekeeping and other staff able to brave the roads, things are looking a bit more normal around campus.
West: Residents across the campus are glad to have the lights on, and those outside the main building all have heat. Inside the towers, corridors and some rooms are still experiencing heating woes, but the Maintenance crew is working around the clock to fix the many broken pipes and other technical issues caused by the weather. While they are seeing progress, other staff are reaching out to apartments without heat, giving them the option to relocate to warmer accommodations and asking neighbors to open their homes to those in need. Dining is ready to serve both lunch and dinner and even managed to restock many of the convenient “grab and go” items in the village store.
As Blue Skies and the city of San Antonio try to restore a sense of normalcy, we know we are lucky to have such committed staff and such generous residents on our campus. Neighbors went out of their way to make sure their friends were okay, and staff temporarily made Blue Skies their home to ensure the safety of our vulnerable population. We are far from the end of this ordeal, but the sun is shining here in Texas, and we can’t help but be thankful.
Updated February 18th @6:30pm
As temperatures begin to plunge yet again into the evening, Blue Skies residents and staff are grateful to still have power at both campuses. That being said, staff and residents are bracing for the worst, bundling up and preparing for another potentially cold night, all while trying to help conserve energy for the sake of the power grid. Even with our offsite military pharmacy closed until Monday, the Wellness team connected with top military personnel to ensure our residents receive necessary refills.
Healthcare: Generators at our East healthcare facilities are standing by, saving fuel in case they are needed, and they will turn on within 10 seconds of these buildings losing power. Generators at West continue to run due to their less-scarce fuel source, and staff at both campuses have made sure all have plenty of backup linens and medications.
East: There was an elevator outage today in the High-Rise but the heat was on, so most residents choose to remain in their rooms. Staff delivered lunches up and down the stairs and even helped three “stranded” residents back to their rooms. Later in the afternoon, the elevators were reset and back to normal operations. A cozy room on the ground floor was converted to a warming room for those who needed it, and the East Activities Committee brightened the room with their fully loaded popcorn machine! The city of San Antonio continues with their boil water ordinance for drinking and cooking, so residents appreciated the meals prepared by their dining team.
West: With the power back, Blue Skies services went into full gear today. Dining provided a wide array of options for lunch, a change from the hot soups and sandwiches of days past. While maintenance and IT continue to work on the internet outage, housekeeping washed hundreds of linens, enabling them to refresh sheets and towels for all the staff staying in guest rooms. Heat continues to pour into the homes which surround the main building, but heat has not been completely restored to all apartments in the towers. Some apartments are warmer than others, so West staff are creating warming rooms for residents who do not have enough heat. Maintenance is working around the clock to restore heat as quickly as possible.
As stated previously, the West campus has its own well system and is not affected by the boil water orders from the city of San Antonio.
Updated February 18th @ 11:05am
As of 10pm last night, the power at BOTH campuses is ON!! However, with the snow coming down and temperatures dropping, Blue Skies is preparing for another outage. This means generators will keep running in our licensed healthcare facilities to ensure they are not frozen when needed, and staff are making sure linen and food supplies are well stocked. Our Wellness team is working overtime to ensure residents have their necessary medications, and we are individually reaching out to our most vulnerable residents living independently outside our healthcare facilities to make sure they are okay and have what they need.
East: Power continues to run freely through Blue Skies East, warming homes and encouraging residents. With the city under orders to boil water for drinking and cooking, the front desk has stepped up yet again to offer not only free coffee, but clean water as well. A few apartments have experienced a loss of heat, but each were given personal heaters to ensure their warmth. A hot lunch will again be served for residents. Front Desk Number: 210-673-2761
West: For the first time in 41 hours, the West campus has power! Even still, over 2,000,000 Texas residents are without, so we count ourselves lucky. Like much of San Antonio, many of our landlines remain out. The lack of heat had its consequences, bursting pipes here and there around the campus, but as always, our Maintenance team is working tirelessly and creatively to mitigate and resolve issues. Though some rooms in the Towers in the main building are starting to receive heat, the common areas and many apartments are without due to these broken lines. However, heat has returned to the individual resident homes that surround the main building. Residents gratefully lined up this morning to receive their free, hot oatmeal, and they will be back this afternoon for hot lunches as well. Even with electricity restored, our residents love coming to the front desk for a hot cup of coffee and to see friendly faces. Front Desk Number: 210-310-5115
Since the West campus has its own purified well system, they do not have to boil their own water like the rest of the city.
Please stay tuned as we are committed to posting at least two updates per day!
Updated February 17th @ 6:40pm
While the state of Texas continues to battle power outages that are drawing national attention, Blue Skies leadership is working with city officials to ensure the safety of our many residents. Fortunately, our dining teams at both campuses can boast large enough food supplies to carry our entire population through this weather event, and hot meals continue to make their way to our residents. Our healthcare teams are staying on campus to ensure there is no stoppage in care, our licensed facilities are running on generators, and all are fully stocked with fresh linens and other supplies should residents need them. Overall, our main concern (along with other retirement communities in the area) is the temperature across our campuses.
West: The West campus marches on despite power outages. Residents were notified of free, hot oatmeal for breakfast tomorrow in the lobby, which will serve as a beacon of warm, delicious hope throughout the cold evening. Busses are being used to warm residents who need an extra boost of heat, and hot coffee and tea continue to be offered at the front desk. The main doors are locked to conserve heat in the common areas, and residents are entering and exiting the lobby using the side doors. Fortunately, the water remains potable as this campus is supplied by its own treated well.
East: Power is ON as of 6:20pm at our East campus, and the midrise especially continues to hold heat well, despite the fluctuations. Temperatures continue to be our biggest concern, but hot coffee continues to be available in the lobby. The White Elephant (the thrift store on this campus) provided a particularly cold resident with extra warm clothing, and staff continues to find creative ways to provide warmth for chilly residents.
The weather issues across Texas are serious; however, our dedicated staff continues to care for Blue Skies residents in all levels of care. Thanks to our great staff for their caring service and thanks to our residents who continue to demonstrate why Blue Skies of Texas is a great family.
Updated February 17th @ 1:45pm
East: Power has continued to cycle on and off while water has been consistently available. Most recently, power was on from 8:30am to 1pm, but it has since been disconnected. We are hopeful given the regularity of this cycle over the past few days that it will return to warm hands and homes before nightfall. Hot lunches were served to residents, and hot coffee continues to be available at the front desk. Front desk number: 210-673-2761
West: The power remains off, but water has been consistently available. A few cottages have experienced a loss of water, but affected residents have either relocated to our guest rooms or found help from neighbors. A hot lunch was served in the lobby, but with so many residents living outside the main building, the Dining and Wellness teams joined forces to deliver the same hot lunches to those in their homes. Residents who we know are more at-risk during this event have been called, texted, emailed, and now seen in person, and all know to come to the lobby for blankets, hot cider, and a cellphone charging station. Staff are even using the front desk’s microwave to heat food for residents throughout the day. Front desk number: 210-310-5115
Updated February 17th @ 10:45am
Blue Skies of Texas continues to battle electrical and water outages driven by the unprecedented cold weather gripping Texas. At this time, 2,000,000 Texas homes are without power and the stress on the power grid is critical. However, we continue to work with our residents to keep them safe and secure.
East: Tuesday night, the East campus saw the power turn on from about 10:30pm to 3:30am. Power went out again for five hours and returned at 8:30am. Indoor temperatures are holding steady, and hot coffee is available for residents at the front desk. A hot lunch will also be available for residents again today. To reach the East Campus call 210-673-2761.
West: Power has yet to return to the West campus, but residents are encouraged to find community and blankets in the main lobby. With the phone lines down, rotating staff cellphone numbers are being disseminated to the residents in case of emergency, and the front desk is even charging resident phones with the small amount of backup power available. Most of the limited backup power is going to our licensed facilities to care for residents needing oxygen, dialysis, and other medical needs. This morning, hot cider is being served at the front desk, and hot soup and sandwiches will be available for lunch. Residents outside the main building are being directed by staff to use the existing resident network to check in on their neighbors, and guest rooms are being utilized by those whose living conditions are unbearable. To reach the West campus, the current staff number is 210-310-5115.
Stay tuned for more.
Updated February 16th @ 2:15 PM
Healthcare Update: The Blue Skies of Texas healthcare team continues to keep our residents safe and secure. For our West campus licensed facilities, The Vista, Freedom House, and Liberty House, backup heat is connected to our emergency generators. In our current severe weather conditions, temperatures are colder than normal in some areas, but we continue to monitor resident rooms and common areas every two hours. In addition, residents have been provided extra blankets and staff are monitoring them routinely to include taking their body temperatures hourly. For our East campus, The Mission and Arnold House, we also monitor room temperatures and resident body temperatures regularly. The Mission is connected to backup generators and Arnold House relies on the larger high-rise and mid-rise buildings in case of emergency. Some residents in Arnold House have been moved to warmer parts of the buildings and we are providing extra blankets and sweaters like you would at home.
During this unprecedented strain on the power grid, we continue to monitor the weather and power outages for San Antonio/Bexar County, and continue to implement emergency measures as needs arise.
Updated: February 16th @ 12:30 PM
Members of the Blue Skies family:
The historic winter weather event here in Texas has caused widespread power outages in our region. The Texas power grid is currently at a critical level due to excessive demand. Subsequently, our community has been temporarily affected. As of this update, our electricity has been restored at the East Campus, but we are still without power at our West Campus. Some of our phone lines are down, so if you need to check on a loved one, please call the following numbers:
East Campus: 210-673-2761 West Campus:
210-852-3549 (see above for updates)
We have heard from many residents and family members and want to assure you that our leadership is working directly with local utility providers to get essential services stabilized and fully operational.
Our residents are safe and secure. We are providing hot meals, serving warm drinks at the front desks, and our maintenance crews are hard at work restoring essential services. Additionally, we are taking extra measures to provide for our residents, for example, our staff and healthcare workers are even sleeping on campus to ensure there is no stoppage in care.
In the meantime, we will be sure to keep everyone updated as we work toward our top priorities: ensuring the safety and comfort of our residents. We will provide regular updates as more information becomes available.