Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed or are continuing to enjoy the holiday break.
As I indicated in my December 21 message, we have been closely monitoring the status of the Omicron variant for any potential impact to our spring semester plans. Based on our assessment of the information and the extremely contagious nature of this variant, College leadership has made the following decisions:
- Flex Week will continue January 18-21. However, rather than in-person, Flex Week activities will be virtual. This includes Convocation (previously planned as an in-person event at the Indian Valley Campus).
- Classes will begin on January 24, but with only virtual instruction the first week (a few exceptions for some activity and other courses may be made)
- In-person instruction will begin on January 31, if safe to do so.
- Modified staffing schedules will continue through January 28.
On January 4, Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis reported a dramatic increase in active COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks. On December 28, 2021, Marin County had 412 new cases in one day—more than double the previous high of 174 cases on January 6, 2021.
In a recent San Francisco Chronicle article, Bay Area health officials, including Dr. Willis, estimated the Omicron surge could peak in the next two to three weeks and that the Bay Area may be seeing the tail end of this surge by early February.
As you know, all employees and students are required to be fully vaccinated for spring semester. I strongly recommend all employees and students receive a booster shot once eligible. The District will most likely require all employees and students to receive boosters in future semesters. As such, I recommend you get boosted as soon as you are able.
Vaccine Finder: https://coronavirus.marinhhs.org/vaccinefinder
Input your booster information (if available): https://mycom.sjc1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_26abQyMXEEFNKo6
Masks continue to be required while indoors throughout spring semester. The CDC and Cal/OSHA emphasize the importance of properly using any face covering—gaps significantly reduce the effectiveness. The District is distributing N95masks to all employees and recommends all employees and students at a minimum wear a surgical mask. Boxes of surgical masks have been placed in buildings throughout both campuses. As a reminder, the following are not acceptable face coverings: scarf, ski mask, balaclava, bandana, turtleneck, collar, or single layer of fabric.
I strongly recommend you check the function of your key fobs during Flex Week if possible. Since many of you have not been on campus recently, it is possible the batteries on either your key fob or office door need to be replaced.
Contact Alexio Perez at (415) 509-1711 for battery replacement.
I will provide a subsequent briefing no later than Tuesday, January 18. In that communication, I will include a summary of the safety measures being taken for spring semester.
Vice President Eldridge will send a communication to faculty with detailed steps on how to prepare for the remote first week of the semester, including use of Canvas and communication with enrolled students.
Thank you for your continued flexibility as we endeavor to keep our ourselves and the College community safe and healthy.
David Wain Coon, Ed.D.