We’ve now completed our second week and the majority of students have now settled into our full-term classes. Thanks to all our Reedley family and students for observing our COVID-19 Delta variant precautions this semester, including mask wearing and participating in daily electronic health screenings. Please be aware that today’s Board meeting to discuss implementation of other potential public health measures was cancelled unexpectedly due to participant interest exceeding the maximum capacity of our District’s Zoom meeting. As I understand the situation currently, this Board meeting will be rescheduled to early next week, so please check your email for updates.
Since we are still living under pandemic conditions I will continue to advocate for as many people as possible on the Reedley College campus to become vaccinated in order to help end this challenge to our community and the education of our students. COVID-19 is not a myth, nor is it something to ignore… it is a serious threat to everyone’s health. If you take time to look at data posted to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) web site, you will note that approximately 170 million people have been fully vaccinated (approximately 356 million doses delivered), so far, with a complication rate of roughly 0.3%. As a physiologist and a college professor who taught pharmacology for 15 years, my observation and professional opinion is that data collected on the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines indicates that they are by far the most effective means of protecting everyone from serious illness and death from COVID-19. I continue to advocate that anyone who has not yet received a vaccine should confer with their family physician for a recommendation on your best course of action.
I’m happy to see so many faculty, staff and students back on campus this fall, so please help us maintain our face-to-face classes by following our health precautions. As your President, it is my responsibility to maintain a safe working and learning environment for each of you, and I invite you to research our current public health challenges using peer reviewed scientific resources and to become informed about the science behind vaccine production, as well as potential side effects that can arise as vaccines are administered to large populations. Above all, I recommend that you utilize critical thinking and quantitative analysis, and question data and information that you receive each day on this subject. Please remember that in statistics its important to assess not only the “n” (numerical count) but also the frequency of the variable you are analyzing. Also, statistics usually allows us to make “inferences” about relationships between one variable and another, but generally does not prove “causality.” Many people have mistakenly taken to interpreting data without observing the limits of statistical analysis, or worse yet partially stating facts to slant their interpretation to support a personal belief. This is a time when every person should take time to fully educate themselves about this pandemic and the best way to protect themselves and their families. Question everything you hear, until you are comfortable understanding the science, the statistics and our current reality.
Those of us that have already completed high school and college remember mandatory vaccinations and health testing during every decade prior to this one, where such measures were required to ensure the public’s health, and to protect our children. COVID-19 vaccines are no different than the polio vaccinations currently supported and funded by my Rotary Club, and I would leave you with our motto to help us see the need for respectful conversations on subjects that others might hope would polarize our community: “Service above self.” Let’s make certain that we prioritize taking care of each other...
Best wishes for a safe and productive semester – Go Tigers!