Messages to Campus

Dear Colleagues,

We write to you with an update on fall 2021 planning. Since last year, both colleges and the district have been heavily engaged in planning for in-person instruction in an effort to prioritize the health and safety of our academic community while addressing the myriad pedagogical and operational challenges presented by the pandemic. Working in collaboration with local and state public health professionals, and following discussions with our student leaders, academic and classified senate presidents, administrative teams, participatory governance groups, and others, we have made the decision to continue offering the majority of our courses and services in a virtual format for fall 2021.

This decision is consistent with all Santa Clara and San Mateo County community college districts, which will also continue to operate in a primarily remote environment this fall. Our decision has been influenced by many factors, but the current uncertainty around vaccine distribution, virus variants, and rising infection rates in other parts of the country, coupled with the timing constraints associated with the fall course scheduling process requires us to make this decision now. Many of our students are concerned about registering for in-person classes before getting vaccinated, given that a majority will be among the last Californians eligible. In addition, while vaccinations are required for most students in high schools, the UC and CSU systems, and private institutions, community college students in California are not required to demonstrate proof of vaccination to enroll.   

This fall will serve as a bridge to our full return to in-person instruction and campus life. We plan to slowly expand on-campus operations with the return of administrative and classified professionals in late summer and throughout the fall, with an expectation of an unrestricted return in spring 2022, provided we meet the following four criteria:

  1. Santa Clara County moves into the orange tier of the State of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. This policy establishes four increasingly restrictive colored tiers (yellow, orange, red, purple) that are assigned by the state to each county based on a variety of COVID-19 metrics. In conjunction with additional county guidelines, this blueprint establishes a number of requirements that the district must adhere to in order to operate on-site. 
  1. Compliance with applicable county and state requirements for in-person activities including but not limited to:
  1. Social distancing requirements
  2. Occupancy limits
  3. Employee prevention plans
  4. Cleaning standards and requirements
  5. HVAC filtration and ventilation standards
  6. COVID-19 case reporting and investigation requirements

We expect that the above requirements will be met by July 1, 2021 — well before any departments return to in-person activities. Although our newly constructed buildings already meet established guidelines, all classrooms and offices will be inspected by a third party to ensure that filtration and ventilation standards have been met, and those results will be published on the college and district websites. The colleges will also augment the level of custodial assistance during the workday to ensure common areas and classrooms receive regular cleanings.

  1. Our employees have all had an opportunity to be vaccinated. We remain cautiously optimistic that the federal government will be able to meet its goal of providing vaccinations to all adults by June 2021. Employees choosing not to be vaccinated for religious, medical, or other acceptable reasons should consult the Human Resources Department for appropriate guidance, and;
  1. The district has met and conferred with our collective bargaining units regarding the timing and process for a safe and collaborative return to campus.

Together, our district has done an exemplary job of providing for our students’ holistic needs during this difficult time, and while our enrollment is down, retention has exceeded expectations. Thank you for your important role in this endeavor. By thoughtfully and safely planning for a full return in spring 2022, we are confident that our district and its colleges will continue to meet our community’s needs. Please accept our sincere gratitude for your care and support of our students, and each other.

Respectfully,

Bradley J. Davis                 Daniel Peck                         Stephanie Kashima

Chancellor                           President                             President

WVMCCD                            Mission College                 West Valley College

Dear Campus Community,  

We hope this email finds you healthy and well.   

This is my bi-monthly update to you about our efforts to return to campus safely. As we celebrate the development of additional vaccines, we continue to discuss and develop a phased approach to reopening our campuses, with students, employees, and the community as the top priority. The college’s Return-to-Campus Taskforce will continue to work hand in hand with Mission College’s Return to Campus group and the District’s COVID planning team to review changes to applicable guidelines and ensure we are meeting all of the current safety mandates.   

Santa Clara County is currently in the RED tier of the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy county risk scale.  

Santa Clara County opened COVID-19 vaccination appointments to educators and school staff. While employees are not required to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, the District is working to provide vaccination resource information to those interested in voluntarily being vaccinated.  Please visit the Santa Clara County Public Health Department’s vaccination resource page, found here, to schedule an appointment.  Please note that vaccination sites may require proof of employment before administering the vaccine.  It has been suggested that a state ID or Driver’s License, AND an employer ID or paystub, should be sufficient as proof of employment.  

  

We are currently working with Mission College and the District to discuss what would need to be in place for us to have more in-person classes and increase on-campus operation safely. At present, and with the new county orders, both District and College Administration is considering the options for a phased return in Fall 2021 and full return in Spring 2022.  It is important to note that we will be engaging in discussions with the appropriate bargaining units before any return.

  

We understand that air quality in classrooms and offices, adherence to safety protocols, and general cleanliness are the most important safety considerations. And that you will need to feel confident that these spaces are safe and to trust that we are doing everything possible to keep you safe before returning. The following are what we are considering; 

Ventilation  

Our building HVAC systems (filters and airflow regulation) are being evaluated and upgraded as necessary to meet OSHA requirements and state guidelines. We have retrofitted many of the building’s filters to MERV 13 and are in the process of retrofitting all buildings.  With the reduced occupancy due to COVID-19, the fresh air exchanges per person will significantly be increased.  The District Maintenance department is currently working with contractors and engineers to complete a building-by-building study on existing airflow and better increase outside air circulation.  

See California Department of Public Health Interim guidance for Ventilation, Filtration, and Air Quality in Indoor Environments   

Touchless sanitizing and temperature stations  

We will be completing an analysis of our current building layouts to determine where we need to install touchless sanitizing and temperature-taking stations across campus.  

Social distancing requirements  

We will ensure that social distancing requirements can be met in each room on campus through furniture reconfiguration and/or signage.  

Cleaning protocols  

Please join me in thanking our Custodial and Grounds staff who have never left campus. They continue to provide round-the-clock service with the day crew responding to situations requiring an immediate attention, inspect and service campus restrooms and exterior recycling and waste receptacles. And the night crew cleaning and sanitize restrooms, classrooms, and labs every night after daily use. We are looking at protocols that need to be in place for a larger scale return to campus.  

Athletics  

One bit of good news is that the county has just approved community colleges to begin competitions in most sports. We are now required to follow the state’s guidance for higher education as it pertains to athletics. Both high school and 4-year college teams have already been approved for competitions, so this development is welcome for our student-athletes who have not been able to engage in competitions for the past 12 months. We are cleared to begin competition and to move our intercollegiate teams back indoors. Testing will still be required, and we will test at a higher rate than what is needed for the state. Competitions may begin at the end of this month or early April.  

In my next update, I will provide you with progress on the above action items. Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions.  

Please Reference the following Links for additional information 

COVID Incident Reporting Form  

Return to Campus Phased Plan 

COVID-19 Industry Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education 

California Blue Print for Safer Economy 

Santa Clara Social Distancing Protocols 

California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Resources 

Santa Clara County Department of Public Health Resources 

State of California Resources 

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

World Health Organization 

Dear colleagues,

 

I will like to update you on all planning occurring at the college regarding our eventual return to campus and some reminders about safety protocols for being on campus. Our primary resource page for COVID related items can be found here. This page provides information on how to download our WVCGo app, which includes the health screening app we ask all employees and students to use each day that they come to campus. If you respond “No” to each of the 5 questions, you are cleared to come to campus. If you respond “Yes” to any question, you will be confidentially referred to our Health Services Director for appropriate follow up. There is also a desktop version available.

 

This page also provides the following information;

  • Current county tier status (we are currently in the purple tier as designated by the state; this is the second-highest tier).
  • Information on free COVID testing sites,
  • FAQs,
  • A listing of our protocols and any policy updates.
  • Link to current public health orders,
  • Our COVID Incident Reporting Form
  • Our Return to Campus Phased Plan

 

You can find a  more comprehensive pdf of our Return-to-Campus plan here.  This plan is four-phased, and we are currently in Phase 2, in which we are offering some classes on campus, but most classes and services are being offered online, and most of the campus is telecommuting. The criteria we are using to determine any movement to a different phase include changes to the state and county guidelines and mandates, the capacity of our facilities to bring students and employees back while observing necessary social distancing requirements, and federal, state, and local guidelines on vaccine requirements for a broader return to work and full return of students to campus.

 

As you may know, we are currently offering primarily online courses for the spring and, most likely, for the fall semesters. We are holding off on a final decision about the fall semester until March 1 to allow us as much time as possible to plan appropriately before we finalize our fall schedule and distribute to students for planning their fall class schedules and registering. As part of the Guided Pathways work, we strive to provide students maximum planning time to meet with their assigned counselor and plan out their entire educational plan and their semester-to-semester schedules to ensure they are staying on their path to completion.

 

Starting January, I have been the campus lead on our Return to Campus planning team. I will be sharing regular updates with you via email and by updating our resources page.  As an information item, below is a synopsis of the work that has taken place since March of 2020 on all of the college planning by the Return-to-Campus task force (our primary COVID planning group) and the VP of Administrative Services office. This group has been working hand in hand with Mission College’s Return to Campus group and the district’s COVID planning team for 9 months. They meet regularly and review changes to county guidelines and ensure we are meeting all of the current safety mandates. I want to thank this group for all the excellent work they have done to date. We will continue to meet and share updates as available.

 

Please feel free to let your director, dean or VP (or me) know if you have any questions about this information.

 

Thank you and please stay safe.

 

 

2020

”Return to Campus” Task Force Planning

March

  • Creation of COVID Response web resource page
  • Establishment of campus sanitizing protocol
  • Donation of college PPE to Kaiser Santa Clara for front line workers
  • Communication with students and employees regarding moving classes online
  • Ensuring compliance with all applicable county and state COVID regulations (ongoing)

April

  • Coordination of district and college COVID working groups
  • Establish and communicate contact tracing protocol
  • Establish case reporting protocol
  • Establishment of social distancing protocols on campus (posted on COVID resource page)
  • Review and recommendations on county face coverings guidelines
  • Ensuring compliance with all applicable county and state COVID regulations (ongoing)

May

June

  • Identification of fall classes to be held on campus for fall
  • Dean walk-throughs of buildings to assess needs for f2f teaching in fall
  • County testing information posted on web resource page
  • Ensuring compliance with all applicable county and state COVID regulations (ongoing)

July

  • Review of needed supplies for return to campus (e.g. cleaning, gloves, special protective wear beyond PPE)
  • Continued monitoring of county guidelines and updates
  • Recommendations made to administrative leadership on campus regarding fall f2f offerings in light of county guidelines
  • Ensuring compliance with all applicable county and state COVID regulations (ongoing)

August

  • Continued communications to campus about plan for fall class offerings
  • Updates to COVID web resource page
  • Ensuring compliance with all applicable county and state COVID regulations (ongoing)

September

  • Review of move to red tier and implications for campus
  • Recommendation on library use for student access space for Wi-Fi and computers
  • Campus-wide communication on cleaning protocol for high touch surfaces
  • Ensuring compliance with all applicable county and state COVID regulations (ongoing)

October

  • Review of move to orange tier and implications for campus
  • Offering of Keenan safety training on COVID
  • Campus-wide communication on symptom screening requirement for all employees
  • Ensuring compliance with all applicable county and state COVID regulations (ongoing)

November

  • Release of WVCGo app and health screening function for COVID
  • Ensuring compliance with all applicable county and state COVID regulations (ongoing)

December

  • Communication to employees through managers re: county guidelines about travel more than 150 miles for holidays
  • Discussions on vaccine availability and implications for return to campus
  • Ensuring compliance with all applicable county and state COVID regulations (ongoing)
  • Established athletics COVID testing program

2021

 

January

  • Review of move to purpose tier and implications for campus
  • Ensuring compliance with all applicable county and state COVID regulations (ongoing)

February

  • Ensuring compliance with all applicable county and state COVID regulations (ongoing)
Last Updated 3/23/21