San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) will increase its on-campus and hybrid classes to at least 22% this fall, with the remainder being online, as the district begins to transition back to a full reopening in spring 2022. In addition, all students and employees who are on-site this fall will be required to be vaccinated — assuming the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fully authorizes one or more of the vaccines. Exceptions may be granted on medical and religious grounds.
The decision to mandate a vaccine requirement, announced via email on May 18 by SDCCD Chancellor Constance M. Carroll, follows considerable input taken from students and employee groups on scenarios for a safe return to campus. Surveys of students and employees conducted during the current spring semester showed most supported a vaccine requirement.
“Because these decisions affect many, many people, the San Diego Community College District has been deliberate and methodical in its approach,” said Carroll. “We have been conducting surveys of employees and students in order to understand how our internal communities view this important decision and providing participatory governance groups opportunities to make recommendations. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we try to ‘get this right.’”
To ensure everyone’s health and safety, Carroll encouraged all students and employees to get vaccinated. In fact, many already are or plan to be. According to surveys, 85% of employees and 83% of students reported being fully vaccinated or planned to get vaccinated. To assist, all four SDCCD’s colleges are making plans to provide vaccinations either on-site or with a partner organization nearby.
The SDCCD is developing a process to verify each individual’s vaccination status before they arrive on campus. Students and/or employees who do not wish to be vaccinated, due to religious or medical reasons, will be able to request an exemption and the SDCCD will provide appropriate reasonable accommodations.
SDCCD campuses have been closed since March 2020 to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Starting July 1, the district will begin a gradual reopening. Carroll says that by fall, the goal is to have many more classes and operations provided in-person and, by spring, to have the entire district reopened for in-person instruction and operations. In anticipation, the district has taken steps to ensure a safe environment, including the installation of central air filtration meeting MERV 13 standards in all buildings and additional cleaning in high-traffic areas.
Fall classes begin Aug. 23 at San Diego City, Mesa, and Miramar colleges and Sept. 7 at the San Diego College of Continuing Education.
As one of the largest of California’s 73 community college districts, the San Diego Community College District serves approximately 100,000 students annually through three two-year colleges and San Diego Continuing Education. The three colleges, San Diego City College, San Diego Mesa College, and San Diego Miramar College, offer associate degrees and certificates in occupational programs that prepare students for transfer to four-year colleges and entry-level jobs.