From the President

Welcome to Spring Quarter

April 5, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to spring quarter, and the season traditionally considered a time of growth, possibility and promise. Certainly that hope shines before us today -- the first day of classes, with increasingly more of our community members vaccinated against COVID-19, and anticipation for the different forms of graduation celebrations to come in June. More information on events honoring the class of 2021 will be available soon.

This weekend, I had an opportunity to walk the campus, wishing -- after serving as president for nine months! -- to figure out where buildings are, and where services are located. More than that, I wanted to imagine what campus must feel like when filled with students. I noticed the budding trees, squirrels jumping from limb to limb, the calming sounds of water splashing in the fountains, the duck swimming in the Main Quad fountain. But what I recognized most, amid this beauty, is the absence of our students -- and of you. I so look forward to the time when we can be together on campus.

In the face of much hope, there is also deep sadness. Never can we forget those we have lost to COVID, including our own Sandra Diaz. There is also complexity and concern. At this point, most of our community members have not yet been vaccinated, including many in historically underrepresented groups -- a serious issue of equity and access. Vaccine supply is still limited, and the effect of the virus variants is not yet clear.

Meanwhile, egregious acts of violence continue against Asian and Asian American members of our community, and the testimony in the trial in the death of George Floyd is wrenching. An individual act of violence at the U.S. Capitol last week occurred in the wake of the large, organized insurrection of January, with more tension and loss of life. Mass shootings and gun violence are again at the forefront. There are challenges both common and unique from this past year, and there is little wonder that mental health is a concern for many of our students and others.

And yet: Hope shimmers for the end of this pandemic, and the possibilities that represents. With vaccinations, improving case numbers, and evolving county and state restrictions, we continue to plan for a phased reopening of the campus. This month, we are beginning to transition to our Phase II, and among other changes, there is a possibility for those who would like to work occasionally in their offices to do that.

If you wish to work in your office on a limited basis and are approved to do so, you must adhere to all current county guidelines, included wearing a mask at all times on campus, practicing social distancing, and washing or sanitizing hands frequently. Among other restrictions, you should be aware that there is no water or food available on campus, and that police response time to calls may be slower than typical. Please fill out this form with details of your request, and allow up to 10 days for review and response.

Please understand that working on campus is not a requirement for most employees, and we are not encouraging you to do so. We are simply offering this occasional option now that county guidelines have changed. I again want to thank the many classified professionals in College Operations whose jobs have in fact required them to work on campus: those in Custodial, Grounds, the Bookstore, the Child Development Center, Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment, and others. Thank you to those in Nursing and our other Allied Health Programs who have been teaching some days on campus.

As a reminder, and as I said in my message of March 15, all components of our Welcome Back to Campus plan are subject to change based on various factors. Elements of phases may be combined or shifted, and the overall plan may be accelerated or delayed. Thank you for continuing to tolerate the ambiguity we all face.

Thank you, as well, for your dedication to the work of the college, including the governance review and Guided Pathways. Look for more discussion on college governance, the budget process and strategic planning soon. Thank you for continuing to support and appreciate our classified professionals. Most of all, thank you for your direct and indirect service to our students, in whose lives you make such a difference. I look forward to seeing many of you next Monday at our Senior Staff Conversation and Q&A.

With appreciation,

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