Chancellor's Message: COVID-19 update 3/13/2020
SDCCD Colleagues and Friends:
This message contains important information for students, our campus communities, and departments. As you know from the news and special announcements, the COVID-19 coronavirus has now been classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a pandemic, with exponential increases in its impact around the world. The number of cases have increased in California and in San Diego. Although there have been no confirmed cases within the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) as yet, we believe that it is just a matter of time before that occurs. We are an extremely large and complex multi-college organization, which means that it is necessary for us to balance common practices with some variations at the campuses, but, as we have demonstrated during past emergencies, we are a strong and resilient organization that always achieves this goal. The District Office, City, Mesa, and Miramar colleges, and Continuing Education are working closely together in addressing the current crisis.
At yesterday’s Special Meeting of the SDCCD Board of Trustees, the Board unanimously passed a Resolution, which declares a state of emergency in the District regarding this pandemic and authorizes the Chancellor to take necessary actions to direct and manage emergency decisions and operations. The Board, the College and Continuing Education Presidents, the Chancellor’s Cabinet, the governance leaders, and the collective bargaining/meet-and-confer organizations have two overarching priorities: 1) the health and safety of our students and employees; and 2) the continuity of instruction and operations. Let me update you on our current plans.
OVERALL PLAN AND TIMELINES
We are moving toward the overall closure of in-person operations of the San Diego Community College District in favor of remote operations, with the exception of some essential services (which will be outlined in a separate message). This will pertain to the District Office, City, Mesa, and Miramar colleges, and Continuing Education. This is a complex undertaking and there will be much communication about this next week.
COLLEGE CLASSES AND STUDENTS
I commend the presidents, vice presidents, deans, department chairs, and, above all, our extraordinary faculty members for literally dropping everything in order to convert their classes to online and other remote modalities. I am proud of everyone for rising to the demands of this emergency. The college leaders will be conveying the specifics of the individual campus strategies and plans, but the broad outline is as follows.
- Effective Monday, March 16, all on-campus classes will be suspended. No students will be required to come to campus. CCAP Dual Enrollment and ACP classes, most of which are offered by our colleges at local high schools, will also be suspended (note: most of the school districts will also be closed, including the San Diego Unified School District).
- Effective Monday, March 23, 100% of classes will resume and will be taught in a remote modality. Almost 70% of classes have already been converted to the online format districtwide and the rest will need to be adapted. This is particularly challenging for science classes and laboratory classes. However, video formats and other strategies are being explored. CCAP and ACP courses will also go online at this time. There is no knowledge of when or if on-campus instruction will resume during the spring semester.
- March 16 – March 20, faculty and administrators will work together at the campuses in order to complete the conversion process to remote instructional delivery and to provide professional development assistance to those who have not yet mastered the new technology. We strongly urge all instructors to take advantage of the opportunity convert their classes to the online format, since there will be no classes offered on campus as of March 23, and it will be necessary to assign substitutes for their classes since it is essential that classes continue for students in the online format. This would be unfortunate, especially due to budgetary complaints.
CONTINUING EDUCATION CLASSES AND STUDENTS
Let me extend the same gratitude to the Continuing Education individuals and groups as I did for the colleges above. Given the unique features of the seven CE campuses and the unique mix of programs, there are unique challenges. Continuing Education will follow the same plan as the one outlined above for the three colleges, with one exception:
- Instructors will post a notice on their classroom doors, in addition to the email and text messages that are being sent to students, with contact information so that students can reach them to learn about the alternative delivery format for their classes.
OPERATIONS AND STAFFING
We are grateful to our administrators and classified professionals for their input and patience as this situation has evolved. We are aware that many people in all categories of employment have been affected by the many changes and announcements that have been made. Here is the status of our operational planning.
- During the week of March 16, our offices will initially remain open but will soon be moving toward remote operations.
- We are exploring a full operational closure beginning March 23, with the exception of essential services. More information will shortly be provided.
- We will identify essential staff who are needed to continue to work in offices (until full closure) and also which staff members need to work from home (with necessary support).
- In the meantime: Employees who are ill should not come to work. Employees who have been affected by the closure of the local school districts should indicate that to their supervisors and efforts will be made to accommodate their needs.
- Human Resources will soon be sending out more specific information.
Again, thanks to all of you for your support and patience as we deal with the specifics of this enormous crisis and challenge.
Dr. Constance M. Carroll