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Chancellor's Message: COVID-19 update 3/25/2020

March 25, 2020 | Dr. Constance M. Carroll, Chancellor of the San Diego Community College District

SDCCD Colleagues and Friends:

As of this past Monday, March 23, we are all working from remote locations, with the exception of a few people who are needed to support our facilities and technologies. Again, let me share the heartfelt thanks of the Board of Trustees and myself for the extraordinary work that everyone has contributed to this massive effort to achieve our two top priorities: protecting the health and safety of our students and staff; and ensuring the continuity of instruction and operations.


Our professors and support staff have made a remarkably smooth transition to online instruction and students seem to have turned this corner successfully as well. In addition to the classes offered by City, Mesa, and Miramar colleges, and Continuing Education, the dual-enrollment classes that are offered to high school students were also successfully converted. We still have challenges with some classes in the sciences, allied health, and career-technical disciplines, which do not lend themselves to 100% online conversion. We are working on procuring models for our professors to explore.  Regarding nursing classes, our District is also part of a large coalition of colleges and universities that have appealed to the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) to make some of their requirements more flexible during this emergency. We have asked the Governor to intervene in assisting with our request to reduce the 75% requirement for nursing clinical hours in direct patient care to 50% and to be more flexible in allowing for simulations. As I have said in earlier messages, this is all uncharted territory and the various agencies with which we work must make difficult decisions. Other regulatory bodies are being approached as well. We will also be working with health departments to determine the future feasibility and timelines for re-introducing in-person instruction where necessary. The presidents, vice presidents, and deans will keep everyone posted regarding changes and opportunities.


One of the biggest challenges thus far has been the fact that some students do not have laptops or access to the internet. The Colleges and CE have mobilized, with the help of their foundations, to provide these resources wherever possible. In addition, the San Diego Promise program will shortly mount a special campaign to encourage donors to provide contributions for this purpose during this emergency. If you have not yet done so, you may make a contribution to the San Diego Promise and/or the individual foundations for City, Mesa, and Miramar colleges, and Continuing Education for the purpose of providing electronic support for students. Online donations can be made securely on the SDCCD's web page Coronavirus - How you can help.

In addition, while the Colleges and CE are closed, essential services such as counseling, tutoring, and other services, are being provided to students remotely.  We are working especially hard to ensure that some of our most vulnerable students are supported. This includes meeting their basic needs and ensuring that they receive financial aid, even if they do not have a permanent mailing address.


Because this pandemic is new territory for all of us, we do not have a firm notion of when it will end or when restrictions will lessen. Therefore, please be prepared to continue this present pattern of online instruction and remote operations throughout the spring semester.


Because the deadline date for planning the Summer Session is nearing, the Cabinet and I discussed this at length. Our conclusion is that we should plan to offer summer classes completely online. It is important to have a firm plan in place since this is a time of great uncertainty and there are concerns that the virus may abate in late spring only to spike again in late summer. We want to be sure to support the social/physical distancing requirements.


All events during April and May have been canceled due to the social/physical distance requirements and large group prohibitions.  No decision has been made as yet about commencements and I encourage you to send your thoughts and ideas to the College and CE Presidents. Your input will be greatly appreciated.

From time to time, you will receive messages from me as new information about our situation emerges. In the meantime, I hope that everyone is staying safely sequestered, while still working to serve our students and the community.

Stay well.

Dr. Constance M. Carroll
San Diego Community College District

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