Friday, May 1, 2020
Let me first once again thank all of you for the heroic efforts you have made to move our instruction, student support and operations to remote delivery.
Working in this manner is certainly not ideal for most of us, but it was really the only viable option available given our County’s shelter-in-place order.
We need everyone to continue contributing to the success of our students, so please follow all the order’s safe practices guidelines such as social distancing
and wearing face coverings.
Something we can look forward to is the “virtual” commencement ceremony each college is putting together to honor our graduates. Many thanks to the college committees.
The involvement and energy being offered by our students to support these virtual activities and provide the recognition our graduates deserve is uplifting.
Our Governing Board looks forward to joining the celebration activities being planned and hopes and encourages each of us to participate virtually this year,
which has never been an option before with in-person seats being limited.
With the recent extension of the County orders and State direction relating to shelter-in-place through at least the end of May, District administrative,
senate and union leaders have consulted, leading to decisions about direction for the coming months. The plan for the fall semester has changed as outlined below.
The situation is still evolving though, and we’ll continue to meet and adjust to the State and County guidance we receive.
Registration has begun and all SU20 courses are scheduled to be delivered via remote instruction.
Although we are prepared to do so, no face-to-face sections held as “shadow” classes have been released and won’t be unless the shelter-in-place
orders are modified enough to allow it. That seems very unlikely at this point.
Student, instructional and operational support activities will continue being provided as they are now until
the shelter-in-place orders are modified.
Essentially all classes will be offered as online or hybrid courses. Final decisions about the viability of
some hard-to-convert classes that have to be delivered in-person will come this summer, especially in cases where external regulations may apply.
Work is already well underway in each Instructional department to make determinations about delivery method by course.
Registration will begin May 18, with the schedule being available on May 11.
Expecting guidance to change in the coming months, leadership will continue consulting on how and when to transition
student, instructional and operational support functions back to more traditional in-person delivery in a safe manner.
An important development was the announcement by Governor Newsom that K-12 institutions might return to operations as early as July. We can expect to learn a lot,
maybe even receive specific operational direction, when the guidance for K-12s is provided. We should know a lot more around the end of the month when the County
orders expire, and again over the summer as the State implements the next phase in easing restrictions. Expect to hear more at that time.
Until then, we are applying the current social distancing and other requirements as found in the County order. If you haven’t been to campus or the District Office
lately (and that’s good) you might not be aware that each building has all the requirements posted at entryways and in key spots inside. We need to do everything we
can to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Not to divert your attention from the important work in continuing to offer remote instruction and support, but I must also touch upon another looming challenge
for our District. California is facing a huge budget impact as it takes steps to protect residents from COVID-19, and when you add the reduction of property, personal
income, and sales tax due to the loss of jobs and closure of businesses, it’s certain that the State will be making some difficult financial decisions in the coming year.
Yes, the state has a rainy day fund but there are restrictions on how much can be used in any given year. In talking with our state representatives, there is a lot of
gloom and pessimism about the 2020-21 state budget, with expectations of not if, but rather the magnitude of reductions. There’s no question the District will be
discussing actions to be taken to meet the budget realities of fiscal year 2020-21 soon.
One saving grace is that the Student Centered Funding Formula, passed a few years ago, included a hold-harmless provision that delays its implementation until
after the 2021-22 fiscal year. This means that our District will be able to maintain our current relative FTES funding level regardless if we meet our FTES targets or not.
Another bit of good news is that the federal CARES Act provided some financial relief, and our share of the funding is around $13 million, half of which must go as
direct financial aid to students. The process of how to get that money to our students is being worked on now and will be communicated to students soon.
We may also have opportunities to grow our student population as more Californians are furloughed or lost their jobs. Difficult job markets have traditionally
been the time when community colleges see an increase in enrollment because people are seeking upgraded or new skills. Since our 4-year colleges and universities
are also restricted at this time to offering only online education, some of their students may decide to forego attending those campuses and decide to stay closer
to home and take our online/hybrid offerings.
Fortunately, the District learned from past economic downturns and we are in a much better position to weather these uncertain fiscal times. Like the State, we have
healthy reserves. And, we have other options to help cover certain expenses short-term. We didn’t do our traditional “Budget Road Show” this year so please watch for a
more detailed communication about the budget, and finances broadly, as we know more.
There are more unknowns than knowns in our near future. What is it that you can do during these uncertain times? Focus on our students, and treat them and those who
support them, as if you could be the last person they talk to before deciding to drop out of school. Many, if not most of our students are being taught remotely for the
first time and we need to be there to guide them to resources, provide encouragement, and inspire them to persevere. The next few weeks will be critical for so many of
our students who waited to decide if they should drop or withdraw. Let’s all work together so we can say we did everything possible to help our students succeed during
this challenging semester.
Thank you, again, for your ongoing support of our students. Stay safe.
Tuesday, April 8, 2020
While much of the world around us has hit the “pause” button, our mission to educate our students carries on. As shared last week, District administrative, senate and labor
leaders met late yesterday to assess what facts we have and make decisions about the remainder of the spring and upcoming summer semesters. Based on what we know now, the
decisions outlined below were finalized. We all continue to monitor the Contra Costa Health Services’ directives, as well information coming from the State, and will adjust accordingly.
All instruction for the remainder of SP2020 will continue to be provided via remote instruction.
Final exams will be conducted remotely.
Classes and/or class components that can not be completed remotely will not be automatically cancelled.
Each college will continue to assess how best to proceed, evaluating options on a class-by-class basis. The State Chancellor’s Office has
already provided some additional leeway, such as allowing “Spring” classes to be completed by June 30, instead of May 22 in our case, under
certain circumstances. More details on options for hard-to-covert courses will be shared at your college.
For students, all will be given the option of changing their grading preference to “P/NP” for all classes.
Also, the late withdrawal deadline has been extended to May 15th.
All student and instructional support activities will continue to be provided remotely, where feasible, through at least the end of the SP2020 term, or until the County/State shelter-in-place restrictions are modified or lifted.
All operational support activities will continue to be provided remotely, unless identified as essential services that require physical presence, until the County/State shelter-in-place restrictions are modified or lifted.
Graduation planning committees at each college are coordinating on how to offer virtual graduation experiences for our students.
All SU20 courses will be scheduled to be delivered via remote instruction. A smaller subset of face-to-face classes will be held as “shadow” classes, which won’t appear on any published schedule, to activate quickly as late-start classes should the shelter-in-place orders be modified.
Student, instructional and operational support activities will continue being provided as they are now until the shelter-in-place orders are modified.
The traditional mix of face-to-face, online, and hybrid courses will be offered. “Shadow” sections, which won’t appear on any published schedule, to be delivered via remote instruction will be developed for quick activation should the shelter-in-place order continue in some fashion into the fall.
While the last couple of weeks was largely spent trying to figure out how to just get things done on a day-by-day basis, leadership realizes that a lot more training and
professional development needs to be made available. That will happen. We have not only the challenges of remote instruction delivery, but for the summer term at least we
likely will face completely remote admissions, counseling, and all other support activities. Working together, it’s certain that we can rise to the challenges and deliver
the support our students need.
On a positive note, the news about resources and flexibility coming from our State Chancellor’s Office, as well as from the Governor, demonstrates that they recognize what we,
and our students, need now to get through this crisis. On the Federal level, the “CARES” legislation provides considerable funding, some for the District and some for direct student aid.
We’ll share more about our budget and financial situation as it becomes clearer.
The District website continues to be updated regularly and contains a link to the Contra Costa Health Services website where we go for the
latest updates on COVID-19. The link is here: http://www.4cd.edu/covid19/default.aspx
Finally, the tone of State-level leadership has clearly shifted toward cautious optimism. The measures put in place seem to be working to slow the spread of COVID-19.
We look forward to the time when restrictions begin being eased, even though it will likely be done gradually.
Thank you, again, for your ongoing support of our students. Stay safe.
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
As communicated last week, Contra Costa Health Services' prior shelter-at-home order was in effect through April 7. Yesterday, CCHS issued a press release indicating that they would soon be extending the order through at least May 3 and the new order was issued this afternoon. In anticipation of the new order, District administrative, senate and labor leaders met earlier today and based on the CCHS announcement, the following recommendations have been made and will be finalized by District leadership on April 7, after constituency group consultation:
All instruction for the remainder of SP2020 should plan to be conducted via remote instruction.
Final exams should plan to be conducted remotely.
Classes and/or class components that can not be completed remotely will be addressed at each college beginning the week of April 6. Proposals for alternative instruction will be considered by College leadership. Academic Senates will begin discussing a process for evaluating alternatives to remote instruction starting April 6.
All student and instructional support activities should plan to continue to be provided remotely, where feasible, through at least the end of the SP2020 term, or until the County/State shelter-in-place restrictions are modified or lifted.
All operational support activities will continue to be provided remotely, unless identified as essential services that require physical presence, until the County/State shelter-in-place restrictions are modified or lifted.
All events, including in-person graduation ceremonies, scheduled for April or May are postponed or cancelled. Where possible, alternatives to in-person events will be considered in lieu of cancellation. Graduation planning committees at each college are exploring opportunities to provide virtual graduation experiences for our students.
With the CCHS announcement coming out early, we thought it was important to share the direction District leadership was going. There is no indication that the restrictions
in the current order will be dramatically revised or lifted, even after May 3, so it makes sense to plan for the status quo in the short-term. It’s also likely that once
restrictions begin being eased, it will be done gradually, with the size of allowable gatherings being increased over a period of time. We need to consider that likelihood
in planning to return to in-person operations and services, and ultimately instruction.
Safety for all our students and employees remains a top concern. Before any plans are put in place to return significant numbers of people to our facilities,
appropriate cleaning and protection protocols will be put in place. A few functions, such as police services, continue to have a substantial presence on campus
so we have some current cleaning protocols already in-use.
More information will be shared broadly after next Tuesday, April 7th. The District website is also updated regularly and contains a link to the Contra Costa Health Services
website where we go for the latest updates on COVID-19 and where you can find current information about current orders.
The link is here: http://www.4cd.edu/covid19/
Again, a sincere “thank you” to everyone for your ongoing hard work and dedication to our students’ success. Please stay safe.
Friday, March 27, 2020
Spring break is upon us and we all certainly need it. Recognizing that there won’t be much “break” this year for most of our faculty, please
know that your efforts are sincerely appreciated by Districtwide leadership, our Board, and most of all our students. My role doesn’t put me in
contact with many students, but those I do talk with are student leaders, and they are unanimous and effusive in their praise for what you’ve accomplished.
The same is true for our classified professionals who are reaching out, looking for new ways to support and encourage our students well beyond their
normal roles. It’s impressive, what’s going on at each of our colleges and District Office.
In challenging times, one natural response is to seek certainty and clarity. All day leaders are being asked about what’s next, if and when we’ll
return to in-person classes, what the plan is for graduation, and the list goes on. The simple truth is we don’t have a lot of answers just yet.
Here’s what we do know and some imminent decision points.
Decisions made and communicated:
Contra Costa Health Services’ shelter-at-home order goes to at least April 7
District remote instruction and operations goes to at least April 13
Registration for District Summer 2020 classes has been delayed until April 20
Contra Costa County K-12 districts’ remote instruction and operations goes through at least May 1
Key upcoming dates and decision points:
Contra Costa Health Services is expected to issue further guidance next week
District administrative, senate and union leaders meet on April 7
Status of significant matters:
Spring instruction decisions will likely be finalized at the April 7 leadership meeting. To be clear, the conditions that led to remote instruction have not changed and it seems unlikely they will in the immediate future.
Graduation ceremony decisions will likely be made at or right after the April 7 meeting, and will almost certainly follow the same path as instruction. Each college is working on options now, so specifics may vary.
Summer 20 instruction decisions will also be made at or right after the April 7 meeting. However, it’s likely plans will be made that will allow quick adjustments should conditions change.
Fall 20 instruction decisions will be made in early April as well. Registration dates will be pushed back.
Decisions regarding remote operations and student/instructional support will be made as State and County guidance is updated.
Expect more information in the next week or two as events unfold. There is ongoing discussion and planning about what all this means from a longer-term perspective.
While it seems almost certain that we will lose students, that enrollment will decline, and that our financial situation will suffer next year, we simply don’t have enough
reliable information to provide an update in that area yet. The large fiscal stimulus package from the Federal government as well as State reserves could help to mitigate reductions we may face.
The other consistent question is if any students or staff have been diagnosed with COVID-19. On a positive note, we still have no officially positively diagnosed
cases that we know about. The reality is that the CC Health Services testing, communication and outreach protocols have changed dramatically, which means we very
possibly won’t know when an employee or student has been positively diagnosed by testing. At this time, we have several students who have been diagnosed as likely
positive via phone, but none by test. Because the protocols have changed, the District does not intend to send broad updates on the inevitable positive diagnoses
unless requested to do so by CC Health Services.
It is clear the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is already here in our community. The actions taken by the Governor and our local county health services, and the recommendations
to stay safe and healthy, are the best things we can do right now for our families and communities to minimize the spread of the virus. Take this health threat seriously
and remain diligent in continuing healthy and safe practices like washing your hands regularly or use hand sanitizer often, monitoring your health and staying home when
you are feeling sick, and continue practicing social distancing.
We must also be realistic that we will soon hear about a fellow employee or a student displaying symptoms associated with COVID-19. During this time, anyone who
feels sick must stay at home and self-isolate for at least 14 days. Should they begin to feel worse, encourage them to contact their doctor or health care provider
for further assistance. If they don’t have health care coverage, or want to talk to someone about their illness, have them call the Contra Costa Health Services Call Center
at (844) 729-8410. It is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
This is a stressful time for all of us. Our students and communities are counting on us not only to weather this health crisis, but deliver on our mission to serve
affordable and quality higher education. Please continue maintaining your health while providing the calming leadership necessary during this time. If you are looking
for more information about COVID-19, we have placed a lot of information and links on the District website located at www.4cd.edu including a link to the
Contra Costa Health Services website where we go for the latest updates on COVID-19.
I sincerely hope everyone can get a little break next week.
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
As I write this from my desk at the District Office, I’m looking at a largely empty parking lot and empty streets and sidewalks.
In a matter of days, less than two really, all our lives have been turned upside down, personally, socially and professionally.
We’ll adjust, but for now most everyone will be feeling confusion, anxiety, frustration, maybe fear, and fatigue. But, something that
sets us apart from many of our friends and neighbors is that we have a mission that carries on; helping our students meet their
educational goals and needs. Those students rely on us. Let that serve as a point of focus while things around us, largely out
of our control, continue to evolve.
One thing we largely can control is expectations about how we conduct our daily professional lives. The District, and each of our
Colleges in turn, is committed to keeping our employees safe while still allowing our students to achieve their educational goals as
best we can. District and college administration and our Senates’ and unions’ leadership teams met this week and put in place
agreements and plans that have allowed us to quickly move to working remotely. Our intent is to honor the “shelter-at-home” order
issued by Contra Costa Health Services. Although we provide an “essential service” and are expected to continue providing that
service, we are minimizing the risk of exposure and transmittal of COVID-19 between and among our employees and students in a number of ways.
Effective now and until at least April 12, 2020, unless the order is modified, the following general rules apply Districtwide:
ALL District and college facilities are closed to students and the community unless specifically authorized by college administration.
ALL instruction and student support services will be performed remotely. For faculty needing access to classrooms or offices, please work with your dean. Expect buildings to be shut down otherwise.
ALL classified professionals are to work remotely unless already identified as an “essential employee” who must be physically present to perform necessary work. If you have questions about your status, contact your supervisor.
ALL managers, supervisors and confidential employees are to work remotely unless providing “essential services.” Arrangements have been or are being made today to finalize expectations regarding managers’ and supervisors’ presence at college or District Office sites.
Please follow the specific protocols set in place at your site should you need or want to come on campus or to the District Office. In many cases, that will involve police services as we add another layer toward keeping everyone safe.
Because the expectation is that there will be very few employees on-site, there will be significant reductions in ongoing custodial, maintenance and other facilities support. Do not expect all rooms or even all buildings to be serviced on a regular basis.
Student communications will be key over the next few days. The single most effective way we can support our students is to keep in contact with them,
whether for instructional or student support needs. Broad communications will come from the colleges, but certainly faculty and classified professionals
in student support roles simply have to reach out proactively. We need to transition as many students as best we can right now and keep them enrolled to
completion of the semester.
It’s astounding to step back and see how much we collectively accomplished over the last few days. Although not perfect, all of you came together at this
time of crisis and refused to let it derail us. Again, I can’t say enough about the collaboration and positive attitudes our Senates’ and unions’ leaders
brought into every conversation and decision. We are privileged to be working with such high-caliber colleagues.
It is moments like these that I appreciate the professionalism and dedication of our employees. On behalf of the Governing Board and your District
leadership team, thank you for your heroic efforts these past few weeks, and continued work in the future. You are one of the reasons why the
Contra Costa Community College District, Contra Costa College, Diablo Valley College, and Los Medanos College are considered among the top in the State and Nation.
Monday, March 16, 2020
Many of you have already learned of the
directive from the Contra Costa Health Services
that goes into effect at midnight tonight instituting a shelter-in-place. Please be aware that section 10.F.xi within this directive provides
an exemption to this shelter-in-place for educational institutions in order for “essential functions” to continue.
Specifically, it states that “for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions,
provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the extent possible.”
In order to complete the two-day transition plan outlined in my March 15th email and continue the shift to remote
delivery of instruction and student services, District classified professionals and managers are asked to report to
work tomorrow, March 17, 2020, unless other arrangements are made with your supervisor.
This is consistent with prior communications and plans for a remote format delivery of classes and student support services today and tomorrow but
provides the opportunity for other arrangements to be made.
Beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the colleges will start the process to deliver classes and student support services remotely.
Further correspondence on the need for personnel to continue to report to work to perform “essential functions” will be
communicated in the near future.
Gene Huff, Interim Chancellor
Sunday, March 15, 2020
District Suspends Face-to-Face Classes and Student Services to Minimize Spread of Coronavirus
MARTINEZ, CA – In response to the emergency declarations from the State of California and Contra Costa County, the Contra Costa Community College District (District) and its colleges – Contra Costa College, Diablo Valley College-Pleasant Hill and San Ramon Campus, and Los Medanos College Pittsburg Campus and Brentwood Center – have suspended all face-to-face classes and face-to-face student interactions beginning Monday, March 16, 2020. All campus locations will be closed to students to minimize the spread of the coronavirus until further notice.
Over the next few days, faculty and staff will develop and implement transition plans for a remote format delivery of classes and student support services. Beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the colleges will start the process to deliver classes and student support services remotely.
This revised course of action will assist the colleges in fulfilling our mission to our students during this difficult time while minimizing the coronavirus impact to our community. The District appreciates the community’s patience and understanding during this unprecedented time.
Thursday, March 12, 2020
All Lecture-Based Classes Moving to Remote Instruction Effective Monday, March 16, 2020
To all Contra Costa Community College District students,
Beginning March 16, 2020, all lecture-based classes will be moving to remote instruction. Your professors will be reaching out to you in the next few days via email and/or Canvas to provide further guidance. Please be sure to check your college email account often for any updates, and contact your professor right away if you do not hear anything. Lab, activity, and performance classes that require specialized spaces and equipment will meet onsite as regularly scheduled, unless your professor instructs you otherwise.
Your health and safety is of utmost importance to us. As we continuously monitor the situation and assess the impact of the novel coronavirus in our community, we strive to balance health and safety concerns with our students’ goals to complete courses in their educational pathway. In doing so, we follow the expert guidance from the California Department of Public Health and our county health agency. Utilizing the guidelines provided for social distancing from Contra Costa Health Services, and to mitigate risk of exposure, we are moving forward with the following measures.
All colleges and centers are and will remain open and instruction and operations continue with these temporary modifications.
As of today, March 12, 2020, we continue to have zero confirmed cases of students or employees with the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Contra Costa Community College District.
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Contra Costa Community College District Update on Coronavirus: Related Actions
MARTINEZ, CA – As more cases of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) are identified
in California, the Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD) has provided
additional guidance to its three colleges, two centers and District Office in an
effort to protect students, faculty, employees and visitors. To date, there are no
confirmed cases of the Coronavirus at any CCCCD location.
Consistent with guidance provided by the California Department of Public Health
and Contra Costa Health Services, CCCCD confirmed that all colleges and centers
will remain open, and instruction and operations will continue, with
modifications, as listed below.
Effective immediately, and through April 30, 2020, unless otherwise noted, CCCCD
is taking action in the following areas:
CCCCD is curtailing all non-essential travel for students, faculty and employees.
CCCCD locations will cancel or postpone gatherings of 50 or more people,
especially events attended by older adults and people of all ages with
compromised immune systems.
The District is encouraging students, faculty and employees to stay home if they
are sick and adhere to any quarantine guidance provided by a physician in consultation with county health services.
CCCCD, in consultation with the Academic Senate and United Faculty leadership,
is reviewing remote instruction options for lecture-based classes targeted for
March 16, 2020, with evaluations and adjustments made accordingly thereafter.
Student Services will continue on-site at campuses, and CCCCD is reviewing
technologies and tools to provide remote access as necessary.
"We are monitoring the situation closely and will continue to provide updates to
our campus communities when any new relevant information warrants a change
in our response to this issue," said Eugene Huff, Interim Chancellor.
This web page will be updated regularly to reflect the latest public