COVID-19 Information

District Updates:

Thursday, September 23, 2021

On September 14, 2021, Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) announced a new countywide health order requiring patrons and workers to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative test in restaurants, gyms, and other indoor businesses where there's elevated risk of spreading COVID-19.This requirement went into effect for patrons on September 22, and all workers in these establishments must comply by November 1. The health order applies to our college food services areas, as well as any indoor gym activities or classes that typically involve elevated breathing. To review the Contra Costa Health Order, visit: https://www.coronavirus.cchealth.org/health-orders.

Please see below for additional information pertaining to how this order will impact college activities:

  • Restaurants/Food Services - The requirement applies to patrons only when they are consuming food indoors. Unvaccinated individuals who have not been tested within the last 72 hours may purchase food from indoor facilities and consume it outdoors. Colleges will place signs outside of food services venues to inform patrons of this requirement.

  • Indoor exercise classes and gym activities - Students and faculty must be fully vaccinated or have received a negative test within the last 72 hours. Outdoor courses are not subject to the order.

  • Athletic Events - The order does not apply to spectators, only athletes.

This latest county health order aligns with the 4CD Governing Board’s recent decision to implement a districtwide vaccine requirement. Visit https://myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov/ to obtain your personalized QR code to verify your vaccination status.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

4CD Family,

As we prepare for the start of the fall semester, we know the effects of the pandemic and the growing concerns and fatigue over the COVID-19 variants means continued uncertainty for us and our students. I wish the pandemic was over, but it clearly lingering with as. With that said, our focus remains in providing high quality online and on-campus instruction and services to our students that follow professional public health recommendations.

Chancellor’s Cabinet meets weekly to monitor the latest pandemic information to ensure we can make appropriate changes to our operational plan. Thanks to the input received from our constituent groups, we were able to reach the recent decision to require masks indoors regardless of vaccination status prior to the county making the indoor mask requirement a health order.

As more people are being becoming infected countywide, we must continue evaluating options such as requiring vaccinations for all employees and students. Although it is currently not required by Contra Costa County health officials, it is practiced by all UCs, CSUS, K-12 districts and numerous community college districts throughout the state. We hope to have a mask/testing recommendation to the Governing Board for their consideration at the September meeting.

Throughout this time, we have been committed to following county and state public health recommendations to ensure the health and safety of everyone. You can read our entire plan at www.4cd.edu/covid19/docs/4CD-COVID-19-Guide-for-Employees-and-Students-2021-08-04.pdf and the 4CD Covid website can be found at www.4cd.edu/covid19/. The essential protocols we are following right now include the following:

  • 4CD strongly encourages all who are eligible to get fully vaccinated (we are presently discussing a vaccine mandate);
  • 4CD requires the proper wearing of masks indoors when around other people;
  • 4CD encourages wearing masks outdoors when in large groups or when you don’t know if everyone is fully vaccinated;
  • 4CD stresses the importance of hand hygiene (hand washing and hand sanitizer); and
  • 4CD asks all to practice self-screening by staying home when sick.

We are continuing to meet with both unions in the development of specific implementation details. Extended Cabinet (Cabinet, VPs, and constituent leaders) met recently and agreed that we should pursue a vaccine requirement for employees and students. We are working details out for a policy and hope to have agreement on a proposal for the September Governing Board meeting.

I am mindful and have heard many comments how stressful the pandemic has been and continues to be for many. We will continue to support and develop protocols that seek to ensure the safety of you, your family and loved ones, while balancing the needs of our students. We will get through this pandemic if we stick together, if we keep our students in mind in the decisions and work we do, and we respect and take advantage of the unique and wonderful contributions each of us has to offer.

Stay safe and healthy.
Bryan Reece, Ph.D.
Chancellor, Contra Costa Community College District (4CD)

 


Sunday, August 1, 2021

4CD Family,

We held an extended cabinet meeting on Tuesday (7/27) with all constituent leaders, VPs, and more to discuss mask mandates. There was strong consensus to move in this direction. With ongoing concerns for safety, 4CD will require all employees and students to wear masks in indoor spaces if they are in the presence of other people. This requirement extends to all vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals and begins on August 2nd, 2021 and will remain in effect until further notice. Implementation details will be forthcoming as constituent groups meet to discuss the details. There are no other covid protocol changes at this time.

Thank you and if you are returning to your worksite for the first time in over a year, welcome back!

Dr. Reece

***********************************

Bryan Reece, Ph.D.

Chancellor, Contra Costa Community College District (4CD)

 


Friday, July 23, 2021

4CD Family,

On June 15, 2021, California lifted many of its COVID-19 restrictions including room capacity limits, social distancing, and mask requirements. However, due to the rapidly spreading Delta variant -- particularly among those who are unvaccinated -- Contra Costa County has recently joined other Bay Area counties in recommending that all individuals including those fully vaccinated, consider wearing masks when indoors until further notice. As agreed with 4CD constituent leaders, we are committed to following all federal, state and county public health agency recommendations. As such, 4CD recommends that all employees and students consider wearing masks when attending indoor meetings at any of our properties.  

Chancellor’s Cabinet will bring together constituent leaders districtwide next week to discuss whether or not additional steps should be taken to ensure the safety of our employees and students. 4CD continues to advocate that fully vaccinated people are well-protected from infections and serious illness due to known COVID-19 variants including Delta variants. We advocate vaccinating as many people as possible, as soon as possible, remains our best and safest defense against severe COVID-19 infection, and the harm it can do to our region. Vaccines are safe, effective, free, and widely available to everyone 12 and older.

Please keep in mind COVID-19 is still with us, and its Delta variants are now responsible for the majority of the infections in Contra Costa County. Everyone must do their part to stay safe and healthy against this virus. As we have learned throughout this pandemic, guidance from our local health department can change quickly, so we will work diligently to provide you with timely updates.

For the latest COVID-19 information, visit the Contra Costa Health Services website at https://www.coronavirus.cchealth.org/.

Thank you,

Dr. Reece

***********************************

Bryan Reece, Ph.D.

Chancellor, Contra Costa Community College District (4CD)

 


Monday, June 21, 2021

4CD Family,

Last week, the District opened our campuses and District Office to the public and joined the Governor’s Administration as they reopen California from the pandemic. All employees, students and community members who have been asked to stay away from our locations during the pandemic, will now be permitted to return to worksites and visit our campuses with limited restrictions. In preparation for the fall semester, managers districtwide met recently to develop staffing plans that will leverage the lessons we learned about working remotely during these past 15 months, and our core competency of providing face-to-face instruction and student services. Our goal is to implement this staffing plan by Monday, August 2, 2021, in time to serve the normal rush of students prior to the start of the academic year.

For those of you who have been following the decisions being made to reopen the state, it is clear that some of the rules that are imposed on us by federal, state and local agencies remain in flux. We share the frustration you may have in not getting clear, timely guidance to move forward, but we must accept these continuing uncertainties together and find answers and solutions to bring our students and employees back to campus safely while serving high quality instruction and student services.

A recent example of the confusion we faced was the conflicting announcements related to easing the mask and social distancing requirements in public spaces including our campuses. The state eliminated the color-coded tier system for counties, and as a result there are fewer restrictions on business and social activity including wearing a mask and social distancing requirements. However, the easing of these restrictions for businesses are also guided by Cal/OSHA, who had not officially eased restrictions for employees at the workplace until late last week are now in alignment with California Department of Health guidelines. Normally, these changes require a 14-day turnaround before formal implementation, but Governor Newsom signed an executive order that allowed the changes to take effect immediately.

For those who are fully vaccinated, you are no longer required to wear a mask inside or outside of a building. Employers are required to document who is vaccinated at the workplace, and this will be conducted on the honor system with no documentation required. Unvaccinated employees are still required to wear a mask indoors, and employers must provide N95 respirators upon request to unvaccinated employees. The District strongly encourages all employees to get vaccinated as it is the best way to stay safe from the virus and its variants. Social distancing restrictions have also been formally lifted, and classrooms for the fall semester can now be filled to pre-pandemic levels. The District will continue assessing the ventilation systems districtwide to maximize proper air flow. Social distancing requirements for elevators and bathrooms will also be eliminated.

Although the mask restriction has been lifted, the revision allows you to continue wearing a mask indoors if it makes you feel safer and more comfortable. Other safety measures such as plexiglas shields that were installed recently do not have to be taken down if you prefer to keep them, but no new installations will be approved. Improved cleaning protocols will remain in place, and we will review all campus signage to determine if they need updating or can be removed. We will be communicating with our students so they receive information on these latest developments.

As we have tried to ensure our pandemic-related decisions are based on science, we must also continue to follow guidance from the appropriate regulatory agencies. We will do our best to keep you informed of the latest developments and decisions relevant to the reopening of our campuses. In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments about our preparations to reopen for the fall semester, do not hesitate to communicate with me or your college president.

Thank you for your support and all you do for our students.

Sincerely,

Dr. Reece

***********************************

Bryan Reece, Ph.D.

Chancellor, Contra Costa Community College District (4CD)

 


Monday, May 24, 2021

4CD Family,

Based on recent CDC and state guidance updates, Chancellor’s Cabinet has decided that in the best interest of our students and the communities we serve, our colleges, centers and the District Office will reopen to the public beginning on Monday, August 2, 2021. We expect our County Health Office will soon make their announcement on guidelines that will be consistent with state guidance on the pandemic. Although there have been some students and employees who have been taking classes on campuses or working from their worksites during the pandemic, we feel confident the rest of our students and employees can now safely return to our campuses and work locations. We have implemented numerous safety precautions and cleaning protocols, and we will continue to assess our facilities so they are conducive to a safe and healthy learning environment.

Expecting all students and employees who have been studying and working remotely to return immediately is unrealistic. As such, we will follow a phased approach. On June 16, all employees, students and community members who have been asked to stay away from our campuses during the pandemic, will be permitted to return to worksites and visit our campuses without any restrictions. We have learned a lot during the past 15 months of working remotely, and we have asked managers to take that knowledge into consideration as they work with their departments in developing a staffing plan by July 1. On Monday, August 2, employees are expected to accommodate the staffing plans which will likely require a return to worksites. Instructional faculty should plan their return to worksites by following modifications made to the fall schedule as we adjust our proportions of onsite and online sections according to student demand.    

As we return, we need to maintain what we have learned about delivering our services online, following student demands/needs as we adjust our mix of online and onsite services. From the position of our return, we will start the formal policy development and bargaining agreements to shape how we formally structure work schedules and distribute work moving forward. This will take time and we ask for your patience and cooperation. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rethink our learning and working environments and we need to do this together. Please speak openly and often with each other as we move through this transition period. Look for colleagues who may struggle with these changes and offer assistance. As each location has unique needs and considerations, do not hesitate to talk with your president or me regarding additional details and direction as we prepare for the fall semester. More details will be forthcoming as we roll into the summer. 

Thank you,

Dr. Reece 

***********************************

Bryan Reece, Ph.D.

Chancellor, Contra Costa Community College District (4CD)

 


Thursday, February 18, 2021 

4CD Family,

I am hopeful we will begin the return to our workplaces by the fall semester. There are several moving parts that may interrupt our return and we are in the middle of significant planning to help with this process.

PANDEMIC

  • COVID Tracking - We are making good progress in tracking 4CD employee visits to our sites as mandated by law. Thank you for your support and diligence in ensuring your visits are recorded through the InSite COVID-19 tracking tile. In order to achieve the greatest benefit of this tracking effort, please make sure you record your visit on the day you are on site at your campus or District Office. We are also in the process of updating COVID-19 information on the 4CD website, including the Return to Worksite Operational Plan which will guide us in safely reopening our campuses and the District Office when it is safe to do so.
  • Schedule Development - We are preparing a flexible schedule and strive for a gradual return to more in-person instruction and student services for the summer and fall 2021 semesters as feasible, while maintaining compliance with Contra Costa Health Services’ (CCHS) health orders. Updated information for the decision on summer 2021 will be communicated in March 2021 as we continue to consult with our senates and unions.
  • Vaccinations - We have entered into a partnership with CCHS to provide space at our campuses to help them administer the vaccines. Currently, the county has begun vaccinations at DVC-PHC, DVC-SRC, and CCC. Discussions are underway to establish a vaccination site at LMC. At this time, CCHS believes it does not need our new Brentwood Center as a vaccination site. All vaccinations at the CCHS sites are “by appointment only,” and no walk-up requests will be honored. There have been a few instances where some “leftover” vaccinations, due to missed appointments were made available to us, but recent CCHS revisions has eliminated this option for now. 
  • Working from Home - We have been working with our senates and unions to ensure employees are providing the instruction and services our students need and deserve, while maintaining everyone’s health and safety.  We recently reached an agreement with our bargaining units and unrepresented groups to provide $700 for all faculty and $1,000 for all other employees to offset costs for establishing home offices.

Friday, December 4, 2020 - 10:30 p.m.

4CD Family,

After a review of the Governor’s Regional Stay at Home Order, a review of Contra Costa County’s implementation of the order, feedback from county health, and input from the 4CD cabinet, we will not need to make substantive changes to how we are proceeding to close out the fall semester or how we plan to move forward with the spring semester. We are already operating within the parameters of the new order and have a spring schedule that is within the parameters as well. The rule of thumb for colleges and schools under this order is to keep operating the way we have been throughout the fall semester. If we make any adjustments, the adjustments cannot equate to more time on a 4CD property.

The current County Order gives guidance for colleges and schools in Section 2.G. here: https://813dcad3-2b07-4f3f-a25e-23c48c566922.filesusr.com/ugd/84606e_c414dd9409a0478cad5a0ecf80e19eb4.pdf

Closing Out the Fall Semester

With regard to closing out the fall semester, we are starting finals week on Monday 12/7 and sliding into winter break thereafter. Final exams can proceed as planned and any support services already scheduled to support finals can remain. Individual visits to any of our six facilities should be limited as much as possible. If your physical presence on any 4CD property can be avoided, please do so. If it cannot be avoided, follow our current public health protocols (mask, social distance, hygiene, etc.). Do not visit any 4CD facility if you are presenting COVID symptoms.

Starting Up the Spring Semester

We intend to follow our plans for the spring semester with or without the Regional Stay at Home Order. The plans for the District and three colleges are very thorough and have been developed with broad constituent input. If the order is in place during the spring semester, we will need to follow the more restrictive approach described in the previous paragraph. If the order is lifted before or during the spring semester, we can continue having in-person services and instruction proportional to the needs at each of our sites, much like our Return-to-Worksites Covid-19 Operations Plan already delineates. Under all circumstances, public health protocols will need to be followed (mask, social distance, hygiene, etc.).

As I mentioned in my earlier email this evening, the order will not impact our work lives at 4CD that much, but it may impact your private life with regarding to faith, entertainment, travel, shopping, services, and more. I know this pandemic is stressful for many people. It has been stressful for me and my family and I imagine it may be for yours. A great benefit we all have at 4CD is strong healthcare resources. Please reach out to these services during this time. These services are there for you and your family members’ physical and mental health. If you are not sure how to access these services, you can learn about out Employee Assistance Program, reach out to your manager, or call/email Human Resources. During this period, we need to care for each other like family members.

More comprehensive information on how 4CD is approaching COVID can be found at: http://www.4cd.edu/covid19/.
The County’s press release from today can be found at: https://www.contracosta.ca.gov.

Thank you for your continued support,

Dr. Bryan Reece, Ph.D.
Chancellor
Contra Costa Community College District

Friday, December 4, 2020 – 6:00 p.m.

4CD Family,

As you all know, yesterday, Governor Newsom announced his plans to increase COVID-related restrictions on a region by region basis. His plan is to enact these restrictions (Regional Stay Home Orders) at the regional level when any region reached a point where 15 percent or less of ICU beds were available. The Governor’s Office predicted that the Bay Area would be under these new restrictions by mid to late December given the trend lines in the state. Today, the Health Officers for Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and Santa Clara jointly announced that they will implement the State’s Regional Stay Home Order right away.

I spoke with Dr. Rohan Radhakrishna, Contra Costa County Deputy Health Officer, at 5:00 PM today. He indicated that the order goes into effect at 10:00 PM on Sunday, December 6, 2020, for our county. He also indicated that this will likely have very little impact on our work operations across 4CD. We need to conduct our work in compliance with a set of parameters that were released by the county in September, and we are already in compliance with those directives. The order that goes into effect on Sunday will likely have more impact on our private lives.

Please give me a few more hours to get more information out to you. I wanted to get something quick out to you so you know we are aware of the county’s announcement. I understand that this causes some concerns for people in our community and will make sure I have more details to you before the evening is over.

Thank you,

Dr. Bryan Reece, Ph.D.
Chancellor
Contra Costa Community College District

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Colleagues,

I hope the summer is treating you well. This email is to provide an update on the high-level thinking and planning underway in preparation for the potential limited return of students to campus as early as this fall semester, and likely transition from mostly telecommuting back to more operational work from our colleges and District Office. This update will not answer all the questions you may have, but we felt it was important to share with you what we are discussing and thinking about. We also want to assure you that we know more work needs to be done, more conversations must be held, and we welcome your thoughts and input through your managers.

After experiencing the amazing transformation of in-person to remote instruction and student services this past spring, the Chancellor’s Cabinet has been planning for the return of students on our campuses and been engaging many campus managers and leaders, academic and classified senates and unions, to help us think through and plan for the safe return of students and employees to campus and the District Office.

First, our top priority is maintaining the health and safety of our employees and students, which necessitates minimizing risk without sacrificing instruction and services to students. The spring closure of our campuses contributed to the county’s effort to manage and slow down the spread of COVID-19, and local health officials continue to require local schools and colleges to remain largely closed to students. This is why we are offering a summer session almost completely online, and the fall schedule will consist of online courses with a limited number of hybrid courses if allowed by state and county orders. It also means remote work will continue for a majority of employees through the summer, with a limited number of positions continuing to work onsite (e.g. custodial, Police Services, administration, etc.) . We also have a small number of hard-to-convert courses still in progress from the spring term, and a handful of late start summer courses that require limited in-person/socially distanced interaction – all of which are being managed and reviewed on a case-by-case basis in collaboration with the faculty and classified professionals impacted and the unions.

We consider the work we have completed thus far as Phase 1 which assesses our return-to-campus challenge at a broad level. Much has been done already, including detailed space inventory work, gathering data on spaces needing additional safety measures such as Plexiglass barriers, posting signage, etc. The plan going forward is outlined into two additional phases with these approximate timelines:

Phase 2: July 1 – August 14, 2020

Phase 3: August 14 – December 21, 2020

Phase 2 work continues many of the conversations that have already begun and starts to integrate the plans in a way that will be seamless to our students. Cross-functional conversations and actions plans between instruction, student services and facilities, will lay out plans in order to be ready for the limited return of students on our campuses if we receive state and county approval to do so. Written health and safety, and communication plans are being developed and implemented to guide expectations of our employees, students and communities. The vast majority of employees during Phase 2 will continue working fully or mostly remotely. We expect a few more employees may be asked to return to campus and help prepare for Phase 3 when and if students are allowed to return. Your manager will determine which employees may be asked to assist.

Phase 3 is the limited return of students to campus should state and county guidelines allow us to do so. Should this occur, we will have already discussed and implemented plans to maintain social distancing and mandatory face covering rules, and updated guidelines on plans to maintain the health and safety of our employees and students, based on State and County guidelines. During this time we will be offering many services in both online and face-to-face formats to meet student demand while maintaining social distancing guidelines. Onsite staffing will be increased in a manner proportionate to the number of students on campus so that we can ensure continuity of quality services for our students. This will be done in accordance with county and state health guidance as we continue to prioritize the health and safety of our employees.

Over the next few weeks, interdepartmental teams will be discussing and providing recommendations to answer questions and resolve issues in preparation for the return of our students. Additional updates will be provided by me and your college president to inform you on our progress, and we will be working with managers and supervisors so they can also help answer your questions or share your input on our decisions. Unless conditions change, expect detailed written guidance in July.

As we continue to monitor the COVID-19 impacts to our community, we are beginning to see actions and steps to slowly reopen our parks, businesses, and restaurants in a slow return to “normal”. While actions such as wearing face coverings and social distancing are being touted as huge contributors to mitigating the spread of the pandemic, we also must be realistic that many of our neighbors continue to test positive for the virus, and COVID-19 deaths unfortunately continue to happen. The sobering reality is that if we do not remain vigilant in maintaining safe and healthy habits, the virus can once again get out of hand and we could return to stronger restrictions of shelter-in-place.

Similar to when we transitioned to remote instruction and student services, we are in uncharted waters. It won’t be perfect the first time, and that’s why we need your ongoing support and participation in helping identify ways to meet and exceed the rising expectations of our students.

Thanks for your contribution to the success of our students.

Gene Huff

Interim Chancellor

Friday, May 1, 2020

Colleagues,

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.

SUMMER 2020

  1. 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.
  2. Student, instructional and operational support activities will continue being provided as they are now until the shelter-in-place orders are modified.

FALL 2020

  1. 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.
  2. Registration will begin May 18, with the schedule being available on May 11.
  3. 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.

Gene Huff

Interim Chancellor

Tuesday, April 8, 2020

Colleagues,

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.

SPRING 2020

  1. All instruction for the remainder of SP2020 will continue to be provided via remote instruction.
    1. Final exams will be conducted remotely.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Graduation planning committees at each college are coordinating on how to offer virtual graduation experiences for our students.

SUMMER 2020

  1. 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.
  2. Student, instructional and operational support activities will continue being provided as they are now until the shelter-in-place orders are modified.

FALL 2020

  1. 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/

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.

Gene Huff

Interim Chancellor

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Colleagues,

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:

  1. All instruction for the remainder of SP2020 should plan to be conducted via remote instruction.
    1. Final exams should plan to be conducted remotely.
    2. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Gene Huff

Interim Chancellor

Friday, March 27, 2020

Colleagues,

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.

Gene Huff

Interim Chancellor

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Colleagues,

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.

Gene Huff

Interim Chancellor

Monday, March 16, 2020

Colleagues,

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.

Thank you,

Gene Huff, Interim Chancellor

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Press Release

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

Press Release

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:

Travel

CCCCD is curtailing all non-essential travel for students, faculty and employees.

Events

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.

Employee Leave

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.

Instruction

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

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 health guidance.