September 15, 2021
Throughout this pandemic, I’ve weighed many decisions that I knew would have a profound effect on our college without being able to predict the new challenges COVID-19 would bring each day. I’ve relied on science and the recommendations of health experts in making these decisions, while consulting with the many wise, yet disparate voices within our college community.
While this pandemic has hit all of us hard, it has affected us in many different ways. Some can’t wait to return to campus, while others feel safer at home. Some are thrilled to be back in the classroom, while others prefer to remain remote in the face of the new, aggressive variants. Some students are doing well in online learning and others are struggling or have stopped out altogether. Some have encouraged a vaccine mandate, while others strongly oppose it.
I know that our entire college is united in working towards having COVID-free campuses and sites, so that we can once again come together as a community and safely enjoy vibrant, in-person SRJC activities and events. We will be able to make far more strides toward that goal by increasing vaccination rates, while continuing safety measures like masking.
I hoped that by being patient and providing information and access, our community would choose vaccination and many have. But now, we must take stronger steps to protect all those who work and learn at SRJC. The fact is that choosing to be vaccinated saves lives, and not just your own. When you get vaccinated, you’re helping protect our community, particularly those at high risk. For these reasons, I recommended the following vaccine requirement, which was approved by the board of trustees at the September 14 meeting.
The individuals listed below will be required to (1) show proof of full vaccination (being two weeks beyond the final required vaccination dose) OR (2) submit to weekly COVID-19 testing, which will be available at on-campus locations.
- non-faculty employees in positions that have been deemed necessary to be on-site or who are coming on-site for any reason
- faculty teaching a class with an in-person component or who are coming on-site for any reason
- students enrolled in classes with an in-person component or who are coming on-site for any reason
- members of the Sonoma County Junior College District Board of Trustees who are coming on-site for any reason
- volunteers who are coming on-site for any reason
*For those employees who choose testing over vaccination: Your choice will remain confidential. Supervisors will receive a weekly notification as to which employees in their area are approved to be on campus, but this will not include additional information regarding whether individuals are vaccinated or have chosen weekly testing.
Details on the process and timelines for vaccination verification and testing can be found in this video, which was presented at the Tuesday, Sept. 14 meeting of the board of trustees.
Beginning in spring 2022, SRJC will require proof of full vaccination from the individuals listed above. The option for testing will cease as of January 1, 2022. We hope that allowing for testing as an alternative to showing proof of full vaccination in fall 2021 gives anyone considering being vaccinated time to review their options and make decisions that are right for them.
Exemptions to the requirements for fall 2021 and spring 2022 are only those based on law for approved medical and religious reasons. All such requests will be carefully considered.
I appreciate all of you who have overwhelmingly expressed support for this effort and all those who are working tirelessly to put these systems in place, particularly our incredible Student Health Services team and the many individuals working behind the scenes. While I know many of you will applaud this decision, there are many others who will not. Regardless, I steadfastly stand behind it, and know that this is the right decision to ensure the safety of our students, our employees and our Sonoma County community. Now let’s all come together to ensure its successful implementation.
Frank Chong, Ed.D.