August 27, 2020
As we continue through a fall semester unlike any that we have ever experienced, I think it’s important to acknowledge the incredible successes that our college community has achieved while facing more challenges than any one community should have to bear. I am continually inspired by our faculty, staff, administrators, and students, who have shown unparalleled resiliency and determination during a time of great uncertainty. Our students continue to strive for their dreams of higher education and you, the SRJC community, have rallied around them to help them succeed. You make me proud to be a part of SRJC and this community that continues to find hope during these challenging times.
As 2020 continues to present new challenges, we must work together to find the best path forward. After consulting with the board of trustees, my vice presidents, faculty, and classified leadership, California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Oakley and Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase, I have made the decision to maintain remote instruction at SRJC through spring 2021. While I do not make this decision lightly, it is clear to me that the current infection and mortality rates in Sonoma County are far too high to consider a full return to face-to-face instruction. Other colleges and universities across the U.S. reopened for in-person classes too early and saw a dramatic increase in COVID infections. The safety of our students, employees, and community members remains the top priority at SRJC and while we look forward to the day when we can come together again, we will not risk the health and wellness of our community to do so.
I do hope that this decision provides a small bit of certainty during this uncertain time and provides our faculty, staff, and administrators the time to plan for a remote spring semester. I’d also like the thank all of you who provided me your ideas and advice throughout this process, which was extremely beneficial in helping guide my decision.
At this time, we are planning to move forward in the following manner, through the end of spring 2021:
- SRJC will continue to operate most instructional programs and student services remotely through the end of the spring semester.
- It is the district’s intent to utilize the contingency planning process and criteria AFA and the district negotiated for fall 2020 to develop a prioritized list of courses for spring 2021 requiring in-person instruction to be presented to the County Department of Health. This process applies to all courses requiring any form of in-person instruction or activity, including those in Health Sciences programs and at the Public Safety Training Center. Once these courses are approved, we will continue to work alongside faculty and staff in these areas utilizing SRJC’s negotiated social distancing and in-person instruction protocols to protect the health and safety of our college community.
- During this time, we will continue to follow the current guidelines regarding essential workers on campus, which you can review in the Employee FAQs and Faculty FAQs. While we anticipate remaining in a remote format for a while, we will be constantly assessing the latest protocols from the state and the county to determine when the non-instructional operations of the district could resume in a limited or modified face-to-face format.
- We will not hold any mass gatherings on campus during this time, in accordance with health department recommendations. We have not yet made a determination as to whether an in-person commencement ceremony will be possible in May 2021. We will provide more information as the date approaches.
- Please feel free to continue to utilize the following webpages for additional information, as these are being updated regularly, including the FAQs for students and employees.
Please know that I am endlessly appreciative of the dedication you have all shown to our students while continuing to adapt to this new and ever-changing environment. You are what makes this college an incredible place to work and to learn. Thank you for everything you are doing right now, and all that you do every day.
President Frank Chong