Reedley College's Fall 2021 Return to Campus

May 3, 2021

Hello Everyone,

Over the past year, Reedley College has offered virtual town hall meetings to update faculty, staff and students regarding our status during the pandemic.  This email is intended to supplement information provided at recent town halls and to provide more detailed information for our students, faculty and staff.  California has seen a dramatic decrease in COVID-19 cases over the past 8 weeks, as well as hospitalizations and deaths.  The California and Fresno County Departments of Public Health recently announced that our health metrics allow us to begin to restore certain services and programs to in-person status, with between 25-50% limitations on capacity, based upon social distancing requirements of our current “Orange Tier.”  The Governor also announced preliminary plans for the state to re-open on June 15th but without specifying, as yet, what that means for college operations.  A revised guidance document for higher education in California has not yet been distributed.  Last week, however, both the University of California and the California State University announced that upon full FDA approval of at least one COVID vaccine they will mandate vaccination for all students and employees.

State Center Community College District has not announced any requirements for vaccination, but if you review all available information available to date, roughly 50% of residents of California have been vaccinated, which means that millions of people have already received one or two doses of either a Pfizer or Moderna without any complications, which has provided a 94-95% effectiveness against being infected by COVID-19 and 100% protection against dying from COVID-19.  People receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have experienced a very small number of complications related to blood clotting in women younger than 50 years of age.  Johnson & Johnson has since revised their screening instructions to prevent any further risk from these complications, and their vaccine is now back in use across the country.  Comparing the current COVID vaccines to others already in use, such as those used for the annual flu, or vaccines created for past pandemics such as polio, the rates of complications with COVID vaccines is statistically very, very small, primarily due to the design of these new vaccines, as assessed statistically on test populations before they received the FDA’s emergency authorization for use.  Six months after their release, with a much larger body of data now available, the FDA will most likely move Pfizer and Moderna to full FDA approval within days or weeks.

Our best path back to “normal” is to encourage each other, or family members, and all of our students to become vaccinated this semester so that we are all fully protected by August, 2021.

Fresno State University, as our local CSU, also intends to mandate vaccinations and has notified our greater Fresno community that they plan to offer between 65-70% of classes face-to-face on their campus during fall 2021.  Our feeder K-12 districts intend to be working almost entirely face-to-face and are requesting all their dual enrollment classes to be supported with face-to-face instruction.  Reedley College is currently planning to offer between 35% and 50% of our fall classes face-to-face, with our spring 2022 target remaining a 100% return to campus.

For those that are not aware:

  • We have safely offered between 12% and 21% of classes face-to-face on the Reedley Campus since the start of the pandemic.
  • Mask wearing, social distancing and proper hygiene have provided safe working and learning conditions prior to vaccines being available.
  • Fresno County statistics demonstrate that 61% of COVID virus spread has taken place at home, compared to less than 1% spread at any school, college or university.
  • Reedley College has invested in new technology to protect students and employees while on campus.
    • HVAC upgrades that maximize building air flow.
    • MERV-13 air filters for HVAC.
    • UV air filtration for new buildings or those with recent modernization.
    • Plexiglass barriers for faculty, staff and students protection.  
    • Sanitary stations across campus providing hygiene supplies and disposal bins.
    • Upgraded cleaning and sanitization equipment have been purchased in preparation of students and staff returning.
    • PPE will be provided to staff, such as facial coverings, hand sanitizer, and cleaning wipes.
  • All buildings and internal spaces have been measured, and seating capacities have been revised to current CDC and Department of Public Health standards.
    • Classroom and office capacities will be adjusted for fall 2021 based upon current State of California guidance available by June 15, 2021.  If necessary, additional course sections will be added at that time to address both enrollments and social distancing requirements as defined by the Fresno County Department of Public Health, in order to maintain a safe working and learning environment.

Our service delivery for fall 2021 can be summarized as follows:

  • Student services - Will continue to provide services via email, phone, and Zoom platforms.

To accommodate student needs, key services, including academic counseling will be provided in-person in the following manner:

    • One Stop Services – Located in the Student Center. 
      • Services will be available during normal business hours. 
      • Safety protocols will be followed such as wearing of facial coverings, social distancing, and sanitizing of areas.
    • Student Services Building - There will be limited services provided inside the Student Services building and will be by advance appointment only. 
      • Services provided on campus will include Financial Aid, Business Office, Admissions & Records, Health Services, and the Dean of Students Office. 
      • Students will be required to check-in at the intake desk at the front entrance of the building before going to their appointment.
  • Special programs (for example EOPS, DSPS, and SSS) - Offered services in-person and virtual. 
    • Students should contact the program office directly to make an appointment or for same-day services.
  • Residence Hall – Operating at roughly ½ capacity, using double occupancy rooms.
    • Daily health evaluations will be conducted.
    • Protocols are in place for self-isolation for positive COVID test results.
  • Business Services - Will offer expanded access for students via email, phone, and Zoom platforms.
  • Building Services - Will offer daily sanitization of classrooms and offices.

Other important information for fall 2021:

  • Our cafeteria will offer as many tables for faculty, staff and students as are allowed under CDC guidelines.
  • Additional equipment has been purchased to allow for pre-packaged food to be easily accessible for both students and staff. 
  • Online ordering has been upgraded to allow for students and staff to order ahead to help with lines and wait times.
  • Additional instructional equipment has been purchased to allow students to not have to share equipment and will allow for social distancing.

We are hopeful that conditions will continue to improve and many of our preparations may not be needed, so I will continue to update you as new information becomes available.  Please help us maintain our focus on Reedley’s vision to keep students at the center of everything that we do, especially as we prepare to help everyone return to campus this coming academic year.

Sincerely,

Dr. Buckley signature

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