Chancellor's Message: COVID-19 update - June 19, 2020

June 19, 2020 | San Diego Community College District

I am writing to you on Juneteenth, the day that marks the final notice of emancipation of enslaved people in 1865. It is an ironic date, because of the callous decision in Texas to withhold this information from enslaved people who had actually been legally emancipated in 1863.

It is also a hopeful date, because it does celebrate liberation. In the meantime, as Juneteenth celebrations and discussions are taking place across the nation, it is also a continuing time of turmoil regarding how the legacy of slavery continues to affect current events, including violence and brutality conducted by some who are charged with protecting the people, while thousands of people in every state have taken to the streets and to communication vehicles in protest. And, in the midst of all of this, the COVID-19 crisis is still with us and, in more than a dozen states, including California, is dramatically increasing. This is a time for thoughtful action, and that is what I am writing about today.

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!

Let me bring you up-to-date about our current plans:


The summer session is successfully underway, with strong enrollment, although with not as many classes as the previous summer. Everyone seems to have settled into the online format more comfortably. Although this is by no means an ideal form of instruction, students are able to pursue their education in an uninterrupted manner.


As I have shared before and as many of you have discussed in your meetings, some classes just cannot be completed in the online format, and we have a number of students who ended the spring semester in an “in progress” mode.  Because of this situation, some laboratory, clinical, and career-technical class components are being moved to the campuses, effective June 22, so that the hands-on requirements can be met and students can complete their spring semester classes.  Strict health checks, equipment (PPE),  and protocols will be observed for these classes and everyone will be required to comply with them.  Here is a summary of these instructional changes:

- City College – Nursing (However, there are still problems in obtaining Hospital internships for clinical experience)

- Mesa College – Allied Health classes and Culinary Arts classes

- Miramar College – Fire Academy and Emergency Medical Technician Academy (Police Academy to be addressed later)

- Continuing Education – A pilot program in Welding

The Presidents, Vice Presidents, Deans, Department Chairs, and Faculty are hoping to learn a lot from this initiative, which can be useful in converting other sections in a subsequent semester as well.


The fall semester will continue to be offered online. However, the Colleges and Continuing Education are planning to expand the on-campus components for selected classes. The health requirements for these classes will be strict.

The Presidents and the campus leadership groups are having discussions with their athletics departments regarding how to approach fall sports. No final decisions have been made as yet and no final guidance has been provided by the California Community Colleges Athletic Association, which regulates community college intercollegiate sports. Because of the importance of sports to many of our student-athletes as an avenue for their development, as well as for their future transfer opportunities, everyone hopes to see some form of continuation – but only if it is safe to do so.


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 3 days prior to the commencements, the date and times have been set, as follows:

All commencements will take place on Friday, July 17:

10 a.m.       Mesa College

1 p.m.         Miramar College

3 p.m.         Continuing Education

5 p.m.         City College 


As I have stated earlier, we will continue to work remotely for some time to come, probably through much if not all of the fall semester. Our return to onsite operations will depend entirely upon the status of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic and the directions we receive from health officials and the governor.  However, we are already starting the planning process to govern a safe return, which, when it does occur, will probably be phased-in. The Chancellor’s Cabinet formed a task force to review data and models for this eventuality, and the task force has already begun its work in shaping principles, protocols, and processes for returning.  Members of the task force (who are not representing institutions, but functions) are:

Will Surbrook, Vice Chancellor, Human Resources

Susan Topham, Dean, Mesa College

Brett Bell, Vice President of Administrative Services, Miramar College

Chris Manis, Vice Chancellor, Facilities Management

Laura Murphy, Academic Senate President, Miramar College

John Bromma, Academic Senate President, Continuing Education

Neil Kovrig, Classified Senate President, Continuing Education

Jim Mahler, President, AFT Guild

Danielle Short, Representative, AFT Guild, Classified

Thank you, again, for your patience and support. Please know that the Board of Trustees and I are proud of you, and that your input and suggestions are welcome as we continue to move forward together.

Stay well!

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

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