In my last communication to you I stated that our leadership team is making decisions on the best information available and that this information changes often. I also asked for patience and flexibility. Much has changed since my last update and I ask again for your patience and flexibility.
The San Mateo County Health Officer has advised that there is evidence of widespread community transmission of COVID-19 in San Mateo County. In response, the District COVID-19 Task Force has made the following changes to instruction and operations:
- Effective March 13, in accordance with the recommendation of the San Mateo County Health Officer, all employees who have the capacity to work from home are permitted and encouraged to do so. If you cannot work from home, then make arrangements with your supervisor to work at your location with as much social distancing and safe hygiene as possible.
- We want to minimize the number of employees we have on our sites over the next several weeks. We encourage employees to work with their supervisors over the next few days to develop long-term plans to migrate work to remote locations (i.e. home) beginning on Tuesday, March 17. A template will be provided to aid employees and supervisors in assessing the feasibility of remote work.
- We realize that not all employees have jobs that easily transition to remote work and/or you have extensive contact with students or the public. We are currently assessing needs as we transition to delivering instruction and services at a distance and we will work with you to find suitable alternative assignments. For classified staff that are represented by the CSEA, we will work collaboratively so that we can assign acceptable work. For those employees who cannot utilize remote work, social distancing should be incorporated into operating practices. There will be a protocol for employees who will continue to work on-site.
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO): “People who are aged over 60 years, and people who have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease or hypertension are among those who are at greater risk of developing severe or critical illness if infected with the virus.” If you are in a risk category please work remotely if at all possible. If you cannot work remotely, please talk with your supervisor and we will find an alternative work assignment for you. Your health is more important than anything else.
The District is not closing. Our work must continue, and we will carry on instruction and all other work to the best of our ability during this trying time. We hope to return to normal operations by April 6. For employees represented by CSEA and AFSCME, we are working collaboratively with your union leadership as we transition to a new work environment for the next several weeks. We expect you to check your email often because information will change and you will receive additional information and guidance. We are working as fast as we can to identify and resolve issues.
Our goal is to provide employees with flexibility in doing their work in an environment where they personally feel safe. All supervisors should exercise discretion in creating work plans that allow for this level of flexibility.
COURSE MIGRATION – ALL FACE-TO-FACE INSTRUCTION SUSPENDED (including labs, competitive sports, and other activity courses)
As previously announced, classes are canceled through Monday, March 16 and will resume as online or distance-education classes on Tuesday, March 17.
Further to the guidance issued earlier this week, any courses that cannot be taught online or through a distance-learning modality are suspended effectively immediately. Deans and faculty will determine how to handle adapting or canceling these courses.
I encourage all faculty to utilize the new instructional continuity website to prepare for your transition to online or distance education.
Guidance from earlier this week directed the suspension of non-essential activities. That guidance is now revised as follows:
- All District sports practices and games are suspended through April 5, 2020.
- All District-related travel is suspended until further notice.
- All third-party events on all District property are suspended until further notice. This includes facility rentals and community partnerships such as farmer’s markets, Broadway by the Bay, Redwood Symphony, and sports meets and tournaments.
- Beginning Tuesday, March 17, campus shuttles will be suspended until further notice.
We acknowledge that this additional guidance continues to add layers of complexity to your work and the operations of the District. However, it is our goal to maintain the safety and security of students and employees, while maintaining essential operations that ensure the District’s ability to continue to provide quality teaching and learning.
Please continue to check for updates at emergency.smccd.info.
Organizations under extreme stress either bring out the best or the worst in the people. Over the last few days I have only seen the best in our students, faculty, classified staff, administrators and our Board of Trustees. I am deeply proud to be a part of this district. I cannot thank you enough for putting our students first during this very difficult time.