Chancellor's Message: COVID-19 update - July 14, 2020

July 14, 2020 | Constance M. Carroll - Chancellor of the San Diego Community College District

SDCCD Colleagues and Friends:

I hope this message finds everyone well and functioning effectively in all the new roles and formats we have to work with.  It seems incredible that, with the exception of a few key employee groups, we have all been teaching and working remotely since March 23!

Let me begin, as always, by thanking you for the extraordinary job you have all been doing in moving our District, City, Mesa, and Miramar colleges, and Continuing Education forward in meeting our two goals:  1) ensuring the health and safety of our students and employees; and 2) ensuring the continuity of our operations.  The faculty’s great efforts to provide online instruction and the great efforts by classified professionals, supervisors, and managers to work remotely have produced the results for which we strove. Thank you all!

As was predicted, the COVID-19 contagion is still with us and, in more than a dozen states, including California, is dramatically increasing. In the past 14 days, California saw 107,776 new cases of the virus, bringing total cases to date to 336,508. Also, in the past 14 days, there were 1,107 deaths, bringing the death total to 7,087. As you can see, this is a very serious situation that requires our most careful and thoughtful response.  Let me bring you up-to-date about the current situation and our plans.


San Diego County has been placed on the statewide watch-list because of the surge in coronavirus cases, and must comply with the state’s directives as conveyed by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), as prescribed by Dr. Sonia Y. Angell, State Public Health Officer and CDPH Director. Here is the current status of CDPH requirements.

Effective July 13, 2020, ALL counties must close indoor operations in these sectors:

- Dine-in restaurants
- Wineries and tasting rooms
- Movie theaters 
- Family entertainment centers (for example: bowling alleys, miniature golf, batting cages and arcades)
- Zoos and museums
- Cardrooms
Additionally, bars, brewpubs, breweries, and pubs must close all operations both indoor and outdoor statewide, unless they are offering sit-down, outdoor dine-in meals. Alcohol can only be sold in the same transaction as a meal.

Counties that have remained on the County Monitoring List for 3 consecutive days will be required to shut down the following industries or activities unless they can be modified to operate outside or by pick-up (San Diego County is on this list).

- Fitness centers
- Worship services
- Protests
- Offices for non-essential sectors
- Personal care services, like nail salons, body waxing and tattoo parlors
- Hair salons and barbershops
- Malls

This order shall go into effect immediately. These closures shall remain in effect until I (that is, Dr. Angell) determine it is appropriate to modify the order based on public health conditions. Outdoor operations may be conducted under a tent, canopy, or other sun shelter but only as long as no more than one side is closed, allowing sufficient outdoor air movement.

I will continue to monitor the epidemiological data and will modify the sectors that may be open both statewide and in counties on the Monitoring List as required by the evolving public health conditions. If I determine that it is appropriate to reopen, close, or modify the operations of any additional sectors, those sectors will be posted online here. My guidance mandating the wearing of face coverings and my guidance prohibiting gatherings continue to apply statewide, except as specifically permitted in other orders or guidance documents. To prevent further spread of COVID-19 to and within other jurisdictions within the State, Californians should not travel significant distances but should stay close to home.”

While higher education is not mentioned specifically in this set of directives, universities, four-year colleges, and community colleges are still on the original closure list, although with the flexibility to offer some programs and program components on campus where necessary. Plans in this regard must be proposed and reviewed by the Department of Public Health. The context in which we are operating requires that we exercise great care regarding anything we do on-campus or at District Office sites.


The fall semester will continue to be offered primarily online. However, the Colleges and Continuing Education are planning to expand some on-campus components for selected classes that require laboratory, clinical, or career-technical hands-on sessions. The health requirements for these classes will be strict, including temperature checks, PPE, social-distancing, disinfecting, etc. I must emphasize, however, that because of the volatility of the COVID-19 situation, everyone must be prepared to make quick changes during the semester, reverting to the online format if necessary.  Additional courses have also been approved through the curriculum process so that they can be offered in a distance education (DE ) format. This is a difficult ride which will tax everyone’s patience at times, especially if changes occur during the semester, but it is a necessary to be as agile and flexible as possible as we align our class schedules during this unpredictable pandemic.

Here is the current plan:

City, Mesa, and Miramar Colleges, and Continuing Education will offer the vast majority of approximately 6,500 class sections in the fall 2020 semester online.  The exception is hard-to-convert classes in programs that may require technical machinery, hands-on applied instruction, specific work or laboratory environments that may not be viable without some face-to-face instruction.  Hard to convert classes offered in the fall 2020 may be, but are not limited to, those in industry sectors of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers in the State of California as outlined by Governor Gavin Newsom.  Industry sectors include healthcare, transportation and logistics, energy, and communications and information technology.

City College offerings this fall include nursing, electricity, and machine-tool classes through hybrid formats (on-campus and online).  City College has 23 newly-approved distance education courses online including:  communications studies, exercise science, humanities, math, commercial music, nutrition, philosophy, photography, and Spanish. The majority of classes are online.

Mesa College is offering culinary arts, dental assisting, radiologic technology, animal health technology, registered veterinary technician, and some biology and chemistry courses through hybrid formats.  Mesa College has 83 newly-approved DE courses including: architecture, building construction, culinary arts, child development, computer information systems, education, dance, history, math, exercise science, physical therapist assistant, and veterinary technology animal health. The majority of classes are online.

Miramar College is offering administration of justice, automotive technology, aviation, aviation maintenance technology, fire protection technology, medical laboratory technician training through hybrid formats. Miramar has 22 newly-approved distance education courses, including administration of justice, emergency medical technician, chemistry, child development, exercise science, fire technology, mathematics, and paralegal studies. The majority of classes are online.

Continuing Education course offerings have been designed to be fully online except for healthcare courses that require onsite clinical/laboratory skill simulations.

As stated earlier, given the precariousness of COVID-19, the offering of on-campus classes will take place in accordance with state requirements and San Diego County of Public Health guidelines.  Plans are underway to adhere to safety protocols and address contingencies in order to ensure there is continuity in instruction in the fall.


Because of the persistence of COVID-19, the California Community Colleges Athletics Association (CCCAA) has determined that it is not safe to proceed with intercollegiate sports in the fall.  All such sports have been postponed and will be offered in the spring, if it is safe to do so.  This decision affects the following sports in our District.

Mesa College

(Fall Sports)                                          (Spring Sports)

Men’s Soccer                                         Men’s Tennis                     Women’s Softball
Women’s Soccer                                 Women’s Tennis              Women’s Badminton
Men’s Water Polo                              Men’s Track & Field        Women’s Beach Volleyball
Women’s Water Polo                      Men’s Swim & Dive                                       
Men’s Cross-Country                     Women’s Swim & dive
Women’s Cross Country              Men’s Volleyball
Football                                                   Women’s Volleyball
Women’s Indoor Volleyball         Men’s Baseball


City College 

(Fall Sports)                                   (Spring Sports)

Men’s Cross Country                Men’s Baseball 
Women’s Cross Country         Women’s softball
Men’s Soccer                                  Men’s Tennis
Women’s Soccer                          Women’s Tennis
Women’s Indoor Volleyball   Women’s Badminton
Men’s Basketball                          Women’s Beach Volleyball
Women’s Basketball


Miramar College

(Fall Sports)                                 (Spring Sports)

Men’s Water Polo                      Men’s Volleyball                                             
Women’s Water Polo
Women’s Soccer
Men’s Basketball
Men’s Volleyball

As you can see, this will considerably complicate the athletics-related workload for both Mesa College and City College, but every effort will be made to provide this opportunity for our student-athletes for whom sports participation is an important aspect of their educational and transfer goals.


As you recall, the federal stimulus funding, known as the  Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act included a Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), which provided funds for all of higher education with the requirement that half of the funds be used as grants to directly benefit students affected by the COVID-19 crisis. This funding was received and allocated by City, Mesa, and Miramar colleges, because these are the institutions that qualify under the federal financial aid guidelines.  However, a provision was made within our District to ensure that noncredit students in Continuing Education also received support. Funding also has been provided for DACA and undocumented students as a result of a Court action. The distribution to date follows:

Funding distribution

See the CARES Act Funding Distribution by Institution

While CARES Act awards will continue to be distributed, other support has also been identified for students. The United Way of San Diego County has provided $267,000 for SDCCD students who were initially ineligible for CARES Act funding (e.g., DACA, undocumented students, etc.). In order to stretch this benefit to more students, the United Way has stipulated that the grants be in the amount of $200. We are very grateful to CEO Nancy Sasaki and the United Way for their support.

As you may recall, the San Diego Foundation provided $200,000 to our District for students to purchase laptops and obtain Internet connectivity in order to keep pace with the change to online instruction and not fall on the wrong side of the “digital divide.” As the past chair and former member of the San Diego Foundation Board of Governors, I have continued to serve on the Foundation’s COVID-19 Community Relief Fund Executive Committee, and received more good news today. The Foundation will provide an additional $70,000 to benefit students in District 4, as recommended by Supervisor Nathan Fletcher. We are grateful to Foundation CEO Mark Stuart and Board Chair P. Kay Coleman for their support. It is clear that this student need is an ongoing one, so I am grateful that organizations in our community are supportive. Many individuals, such as our current employees, retirees, and others have been making contributions as well. Many thanks to all!


CARES Act funding is also being deployed for institutional purposes. Please refer to the attached chart to see how these funds are being used.


We should all be proud of the role that our District has been playing in confronting legal issues affecting our students during the COVID-19 emergency. The first major challenge was the direction from the U.S. Department of Education and Secretary DeVos to exclude DACA, undocumented, noncredit, and some other categories of students from receiving CARES Act grants. The SDCCD joined the lawsuit of the California Attorney General, the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, and five other districts, and we were all very pleased when the Court intervened and enabled us to include these students in CARES Act grants after all. Most recently, the Department of Homeland Security and ICE indicated that international students who were in online instructional environments were subject to deportation. When Harvard University and MIT brought a lawsuit to challenge this ruling, the SDCCD signed on with a number of other institutions as signatories of an amicus brief. This morning, the Court intervened and the federal government withdrew this order. Our students are suffering enough without being constantly impacted by negative decisions from Washington.


As was reported before, this year’s commencements will all be virtual. City, Mesa, and Miramar colleges, Continuing Education, and the District have been working with a company called Marching Order to develop these virtual commencements. Although it is the company’s practice not to release the links until a few days prior to the commencements, the date and times have been set, as follows:
All commencements will take place on Friday, July 17:
10:00 a.m. Mesa College
1:00 p.m. Miramar College
3:00 p.m. Continuing Education
5:00 p.m. City College

You will be receiving more information and details about these celebrations from Presidents Ricky Shabazz, Pam Luster, Wes Lundburg, and Carlos Turner Cortez.
The Board of Trustees and I continue to be impressed by and grateful for your work, and for the advice we receive from our community supporters as we move through the COVID-19 landscape. Thank you, again, for your ingenuity, your understanding, and your support. We can do this.
Stay well!

Dr. Constance M. Carroll
Chancellor, San Diego Community College District

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