Spring Semester Will Be Online-Only; Commencements Postponed
After consultation with the Board of Trustees and College Presidents, and in light of the continuing guidance coming from local, state, and federal health officials, SMCCCD Interim Chancellor Mike Claire announced the following decisions regarding District operations for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester:
Spring 2020 Semester
- Classes for all three Colleges will continue through the spring semester in an online or distance learning modality.
- Face-to-face instruction is suspended for the remainder of the semester.
- We are monitoring policies from the State Chancellor’s Office regarding disciplines that have labs which require in-person or face to face contact. We work with the Academic Senate and faculty in those disciplines as State policies are finalized.
Commencement and Other Related Events
With regret, we must postpone commencement ceremonies as well as all other related end-of-year celebrations. We must do our part to slow the spread of the coronavirus and it is simply not realistic to expect that mass gatherings will be possible in two months. We are committed to celebrating the incredible accomplishments of our graduates and will reschedule these events as soon as possible.
Campus Access is Prohibited for the Duration of Local and State Shelter-in-Place Orders
Access to our campuses and District Office remains prohibited as long as state and local shelter-in-place orders are in effect.
Vice Presidents and deans will continue to coordinate arrangements for access to campus offices, classrooms, or labs that is absolutely essential to the continuation of online/distance instruction through spring 2020. Any special access will be on a limited basis and must be pre-approved.
We will make a decision in April regarding instructional modalities for the Summer 2020 term.
Spring Break Hours
Next week is our scheduled Spring Break. Should students need to contact College or District staff, they have modified work hours of 8:00 am – 2:00pm.
Tuesday, March 31 is the César Chávez holiday, so “offices” are closed.
Flex Day Information for Faculty and Staff
See announcements at https://covid-19.smccd.edu/daily-updates/
Phone Hotline: 650-574-6650
District Employee Update for March 25
Here is your daily update for March 25.
Flex Day Clarification: Message from the Vice Chancellor
The following message went from Vice Chancellor Aaron McVean to faculty and staff today:
Dear Faculty Colleagues,
We have received some questions regarding the March 27th Flex Day that was identified in the academic calendar and wanted to provide some additional clarification. As was previously communicated, March 27th is to be used as a real flex-ible day for whatever it is you need to do to continue to maintain instructional continuity for students. With that in mind, I want to provide the following information:
For adjunct faculty who are schedule for instructional and non-instructional work on Friday, you can perform the work that was scheduled, including teaching, or you can engage in professional development, or a combination of both, and submit hours to be compensated. As usual this is available for adjuncts who were already scheduled to work on Friday, and for the number of hours and rate they were scheduled (e.g., if someone was scheduled for four hours, they could engage in four hours of professional development and be compensated). Folks will need to submit a timesheet specifying the time and type of activity, as well as a flex report if engaging in professional development as a flex activity. If adjunct faculty dedicate the time for personal matters, that option has been made available, but would not qualify for compensation.
If any faculty choose to engage in professional development as a flex activity this Friday, these activities do not need to be preapproved for March 27th. They can still be included in your flex activity report at the end of the semester.
I hope this clarifies questions that folks had. If more arise, please communicate with your respective Dean, VP, or supervisor, and we will get answers to you in as timely a manner as possible. I appreciate the willingness and flexibility of everyone in doing what is needed during this unprecedented time. Thank you all, again, for the work you are doing to ensure teaching and learning continues. Be safe, be well, and support one another.
Aaron McVean, Ph.D.
Educational Services and Planning
How to Make a Safe and Healthy Home Workplace
Many employees have never worked from home. Even if you have, you probably haven’t done so for extended periods of time while balancing work requirements with family duties. But a few small changes to your home work environment can help create a more comfortable, safe, and productive telecommuting experience. Here are some best practices:
- Ergonomically friendly work area: Use a sturdy chair that can be adjusted. Refrain from sitting on very soft couches and chairs as they do not support the body evenly during extended sitting.
- Adjust seating height, so your forearms are parallel to the floor when typing.
- Place a small pillow behind your lower back while sitting to maintain the natural curve of your spine.
- Use an external mouse and place objects — such as your phone, mouse, and printed materials — close to your body to minimize reaching.
- Place your feet entirely on the floor.
- Alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day (about every hour) to reduce excessive stress on the lower back and legs while sitting.
- Take short micro-breaks (approximately two minutes in length) every hour to stretch and move your body.
- Be careful not to overload electrical outlets to avoid fire risk.
- Be aware of your extension/power cords to minimize tripping hazards.
- Keep your laptop and equipment in a secure place after hours that can be protected from damage or theft.
- If possible, find a dedicated workspace where you can focus on your work with minimal distractions.
- Inspect your home work area: A home workspace should be free from any hazards, including fire and ventilation issues, slipping and falling dangers, and other daily risk factors.
Also see these 5-minute stretches from San Mateo Athletic Club.
Call the District Hotline with Your Questions
The District has opened a telephone hotline for employees, students, and community members. We’ve assembled answers to the most common questions about operating during the COVID-19 crisis. The hotline will be open Monday-Friday, 8am – 5pm. To suggest questions or answers for the call center, please submit our online form. The hotline is: 650-574-6650
Zoom Meeting: What To Do About the Coronavirus
Skyline College’s Dr. Walter Cheng will be giving a talk this Friday, March 27 at 11am on the latest updates, news, and medical concerns about the Coronavirus. This is a follow-up to Dr. Cheng’s first talk, which is viewable at Skyline College Health & Wellness’ Overview page. This viewing is open to students and faculty/staff alike, so please spread the word and join!
Here is the zoom invite info:
Topic: What to do about the Coronavirus Part 2
Time: Mar 27, 2020 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/502147101
Meeting ID: 502 147 101
Get the Latest District Information
District COVID-19 Page
Telephone Hotline: 650-574-6650
Employee Update – March 23
District Hotline to Launch Tomorrow
The District is opening a telephone hotline for employees, students, and community members. Common questions have been assembled. The hotline will be open Monday-Friday, 8am – 5pm.
The hotline is: 650-574-6650
To suggest questions or answers for the call center, please submit our online form.
Flex Day Update
Per Vice Chancellor McVean’s email last week, the March 27 Flex Day has been made truly flexible for faculty to use as they see fit. You may teach, do your own professional development, or use it as personal time. Read more.
Department of Education Suspends Federal Student Loan Payments, Waives Interest for 60 Days
Students with federally held student loans will have a 60-day reprieve from interest and payments. See the announcement from the Department of Education.
Student Mental Health Webinar Tomorrow
Active Minds will host a webinar tomorrow, March 24, 4pm Pacific Time, for students concerned about getting by during the pandemic. Entitled “Sleep, Self-Care, and Sharing a Productive, Healthy Indoor Environment: Everything Students Need to Know about Mental Health during COVID-19,” this webinar features an interactive discussion with up to 500 student participants. Information/registration is online.
Remind Students to Request Technology
Do you know of students who need technology for their online classes? Please direct them to this survey to request a loaner Chromebook or calculator.
- Read the latest public statement from San Mateo County Health Officer Scott Morrow
- Do you know of someone who needs shelter, food assistance, or basic services? Call 2-1-1 or visit the San Mateo County COVID-19 page.
Employee Update for March 20
Reminder: New COVID-19 Information Hub
Please use the new covid-19.smccd.edu website to access resources you need for teaching and working from home. There are links to web resources for faculty, for staff, and for students. Check this site daily for all the latest information.
Help us Identify Students Who Need Technology
Do you know of students who need technology for their online classes? Please direct them to this survey to request a loaner Chromebook or calculator.
Covered California/Medi-Cal Enrollment Has Reopened
Covered California has opened a special enrollment to any eligible uninsured residents who need health coverage. Anyone who meets the eligibility requirements, which are similar to those in place during the annual open enrollment period, can sign up for coverage through June 30.
Residents can also find out if they are eligible for no-cost or low-cost health coverage via Medi-Cal if they sign up through CoveredCA.com.
If International students have questions related to their health coverage, please call Aetna at 877-246-6997.
Feed Your Soul This Weekend
During the shelter-in-place order and general stress of the health crisis, here are some things that might help keep you feel like a human being:
- Take a virtual tour at one of the world’s great museums
- Stream an opera from the Metropolitan Opera
- Listen to KCSM at 91.1 FM or online
If you have more suggestions, we’ll be glad to share them next week.
All District COVID-19 Information Now in One Location
We have consolidated all COVID-19 related websites in one place. You can now use https://covid-19.smccd.edu/ to access comprehensive websites for students, faculty, and employees working from home.
March 19 Student Update
Here is the daily employee update for March 19.
Introducing the New COVID-19 Hub
The District has consolidated resources into the new SMCCCD COVID-19 Hub – a single, user-friendly landing page for students, faculty, and staff to get the information they need for online education, distance learning, working from home, and staying informed. We’ve also added a blog that will carry all the latest announcements, tips, and resources.
District Employee COVID-19 exposure protocols
If you hear a report of someone who thinks they were exposed to coronavirus, report it to District health officer Emily Barrick at email@example.com. She is the District point-person for contact with San Mateo County Health and with the District on health concerns. It is NOT appropriate for anyone else from our District to notify students, faculty, or staff that they may have been involved in a COVID-19 exposure. Read the full announcement.
Help Build Our Knowledge Base
The District will soon be launching a telephone hotline for students, employees and community members to get the latest information. We need your help to generate a list of frequently asked questions for the call center workers to use. Managers/Deans: Please use this online form to submit questions you would like us to answer on the new hotline. You don’t have to know the answer (though if you do, please tell us!).
Picking up a Laptop? Follow these Rules.
Some surplus District laptops are being distributed on a limited basis to employees and students who need them for working from home. We cannot compromise the health and safety of the employees working at these distribution sites. Therefore, please observe the following:
- People that have any health symptoms (cough, sneezing, etc.) will not be served. Please stay home.
- Do not bring your friends or family. They will not be permitted at the ITS distribution centers.
- Maintain 6 feet of social distancing
New Cañada College Access Point
The campus access point for residents of Cañada Vista has been changed from the Cañada Road-West Entrance, to the main entrance at Farm Hill Blvd. This transition is effective immediately and both entrances will be activated until 5 pm today, so all stakeholder groups can be notified of the change.
Farmer’s Market Returns to CSM!
We’re excited to announce the San Mateo Farmer’s Market will reopen in a new location at CSM. Farmer’s markets, like grocery stores, are “essential services” that are still allowed to operate under the County shelter-in-place order. The market will be open Saturdays, 9am – 1pm, at the lower Hillsdale Lot (Lot1). See campus map.
March 18 Student Update
Here is your update for Wednesday, March 18.
Online and distance-learning classes are in session! Students have access to many online resources on the new Virtual Campus website. Faculty should be communicating with students via Canvas, Zoom, or even email and telephone. See the Instructional Continuity Website for resources.
Work from Home Website
ITS has created a new website with plenty of resources to help you work from home. Learn how to use Zoom, collaborate with others on Dropbox, and check out the new schedule of ITS office hours being held via Zoom: https://work.smccd.edu/.
Hint: Make sure your address and contact information are up to date in WebSMART!
Reminder: Access for faculty and staff is prohibited to all campuses and the District Office, except by special permission. Faculty and staff who need to come to campus must make a request to their dean or supervisor. There must be a specific and urgent reason for your request, and it must be for a specific time, date, and location. Note that only extraordinary requests will be granted.
Shelter in Place Order
If you live in San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Santa Cruz, or Marin County, you are under a legal order to shelter in place. Stay home, except to do essential activities like get groceries, pick up medications, or go to the doctor.
What can I do? What can’t I do? What if I have to pick up medicine or check on a family member? Can I go for a walk? San Mateo County has posted answers to these and much more: https://www.smcgov.org/shelter-place-faqs
What To Do if You Think You’ve Been Exposed
Call your health provider immediately if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms such as cough and difficulty breathing.
If you are experiencing a medical or psychiatric emergency, call 911.
Visit this website to see if you qualify for free COVID-19 testing.
Community Assistance Resources
If you are seeking food, housing or any other community resources, contact your nearest San Mateo County Core Agency. If you live outside of San Mateo County, please text or call 2-1-1 to receive information about free emergency services in your area. This service is free, secure, and confidential.
More information: Emergency.smccd.info