Published Wednesday, July 15, 2020 at 3:12pm
Thank you for your patience and flexibility during this past month as we assess plans for the safe return to our Colleges and campus locations. With the rise of COVID-19 across our state and country, we realize many of us are worried about maintaining physical distancing, testing, face coverings, childcare, and many other anxieties and challenges the pandemic has caused. Our highest priority remains the health, safety, and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff.
Throughout the pandemic, we have deployed necessary services to maintain College campuses and District facilities, including Public Safety, Facilities, and IT. In a very controlled approach, our District initiated a “Phase I” return that included a limited number of Spring 2020 courses with an in-person component. These courses (primarily Career and Technical Education) could not be completed in an online setting and resumed in-person classes on College campuses for an eight-week period that began June 15, 2020. Other than the few faculty and staff participating in this Phase I, all faculty and staff have continued to work remotely.
We have been closely monitoring local and national COVID-19 data and continue to reassess our phased approach as needed. Each College has significantly limited the number of in-person courses that will be offered in the Fall semester to ensure all of our safety standards are met, and the District is developing a contingency plan in the event that we are again required to move all operations to a fully remote environment. The Chancellor’s Executive Committee (CEC) has also created a workgroup to review Colleges’ Fall course schedules and develop standard guidelines for the types of courses that can be offered in-person or via hybrid format in the Fall semester, to ensure consistency across the System. The CEC will review this workgroup’s recommendation on July 22, 2020. This may mean that Colleges will revise schedules and offer fewer courses on campus in the Fall.
Currently, our Colleges are identifying limited, in-person student enrollment and support services that are necessary to support the success of our most vulnerable students for Fall 2020. Each college may also identify a limited number of faculty and staff who provide academic support services in controlled, on-campus learning spaces. This limited number of employees may be scheduled to return to campus as early as Monday, August 3, or later, as the Fall semester begins. All of our safety guidelines will be maintained for these limited, in-person necessary services and Colleges will implement strategies to minimize potential individual exposure while prioritizing online services. Please know that each College has developed a Return-to-Campus Plan that addresses safety issues for members of the community as they also begin to return to campus. Return-to-Campus Plans will be communicated at the College level as soon as they are available.
The return-to-campus target date for all other faculty and staff is postponed to Monday, October 5, 2020, at the earliest, in alignment with the timeline in preparation for Spring registration. Colleges will notify faculty and staff at least three weeks in advance of the date they will be expected to return.
We will continuously monitor pandemic conditions locally and nationally, using CDC and state guidelines. Faculty and staff needing to return to their workspaces to access materials or supplies should continue to follow each College’s existing procedures.
Thank you for all that you do, and please continue to stay healthy and safe.