This message was sent via email to Foothill-De Anza district employees by Chancellor Judy C. Miner.
Dec. 7, 2021
What a treat to see more than 100 people at the town hall about emerging from the pandemic hosted by De Anza on December 3! Many thanks to everyone who attended, including our trustees Patrick Ahrens, Laura Casa, Pearl Cheng, Peter Landsberger, and Gilbert Wong.
A special shout goes out to all those who managed many logistics on short notice: Becky Bartindale, Edwin Carungay, Juan Diaz, Amy Edwards, Karen Franco, Patrick Gannon, Pippa Gibson, Marty Kahn, Heidi King, Carla Maitland, Rob Mieso, Paula Norsell, Simon Pennington, Iman Seale, Tim Shively, Marisa Spatafore, and Chris Winn. We appreciate the land acknowledgment by Edmundo Norte and opening comments by Bernadine Fong, Lloyd Holmes, and Peter Landsberger. Our panelists were the highlight of the morning, so kudos to students Joshua Contreras, Catherine Le, Edgar Ramos, Quang Truong and colleagues Maritza Arreola, Chesa Caparas, Derrick Felton, Janie Garcia, Ellen Judd, and Scott Olsen.
You can watch a video recording of the town hall on the district’s YouTube channel to learn about the panelists' experiences returning to campus and hear the Q&A at https://youtu.be/DDpG-NZpHy0
Return to Campus Guidance
As noted at the town hall, our goal is to continue expanding on-site instruction and services to the degree permitted by public health advice. To that end, what follows is districtwide guidance for increasing in-person operations at Foothill, De Anza, and Central Services in winter and spring 2022, unless mandates related to COVID-19 restrictions change significantly. We are closely monitoring guidance regarding the omicron variant and will keep you informed as to any impact on district operations.
There is no expectation that one approach will work in perpetuity in any given department. Individual administrators have discretion in determining how best to staff their areas, but I ask them to make their decisions in consultation with faculty and staff. Student needs should be paramount in these discussions, with employee needs taken into account wherever possible.
As permitted by public health guidelines, more of the colleges’ programs and services will return to campus. This includes but is not limited to:
- Lecture classes, depending on size and facilities capacity
- Library services
- Adaptive physical education
- Dining services
As permitted by public health guidelines, college classes and services will be fully operational on-campus, with any necessary remaining modifications.
During this phase, lessons learned during the pandemic should inform all decisions and planning, and an equity focus should continue to underpin all decisions. To that end, we must keep in mind that online courses provide additional flexibility and options for students, as does the continuation of selected online student services.
It is important to note that plans for spring 2022 will be adjusted as needed to respond to any unanticipated circumstances. However, both colleges aim to offer a class schedule that includes at least 80-85% of their sections in person compared to spring 2019.
The basis of the 80-85% calculation is the percentage of in-person classes at the colleges in spring 2019: Foothill was 49% and De Anza was 79%. The 80-85% figure is a general goal for the colleges, not for individual faculty members, departments, or divisions. However, what will be equally important is that our offerings ensure that our students can meet their general education requirements in person as well as online.
Non-instructional departments at Foothill, De Anza and Central Services will evaluate their operations as more staff members return to campus for more days beginning in winter 2022. Whether people are working remotely or in person, we are committed to providing service Monday through Friday with consistent and predictable hours posted on websites and included in office phone messages.
Recent attempts to develop a board policy and administrative procedures for remote work revealed the difficulties of establishing a uniform approach to all employees and all work assignments. Additionally, some recommendations appeared more appropriately addressed in contract negotiations, so administration will follow up accordingly and postpone policy development.
In the meantime, I ask all administrators to consider the following impacts in developing both remote and in-person class schedules and office hours:
- Student access
- Quality of instruction and services
- Equitable workloads
- Participation in committees
- Professional development
- Team building
Given our very low number of workplace exposures to date and the availability of equally effective alternative methods for conducting contact tracing, we are discontinuing use of the OptimumHQ app for health status reporting and activity logging. At Foothill, we will also discontinue use of the Modolabs student mobile app for health status reporting only. All other functions of the student mobile app will remain active at both colleges.
The district will continue with contact tracing using the methods that were in place before implementation of the OptimumHQ app. These safety measures have worked well and include protocols outlined in the Employee Protocol - Health Checks: Authorization for Onsite Access to District Property and the COVID-19 Response Team document. The latter is a step-by-step chart used for notification of exposures and reporting of COVID positive or symptomatic employees, students, contractors, vendors, and volunteers. These resources have been used consistently by the Human Resources Office and will continue to be updated as needed. You can find this information and more on the HR COVID-19 Employee Information and Resources page at https://hr.fhda.edu/_covid-19/index.html.
A number of people have asked about the possibility of offering onsite COVID-19 testing. To date, we have had fewer than 20 people who have requested and received an approved exemption to the district’s vaccine mandate. As more people begin returning to campus, we will be looking at how to handle onsite testing for exempted employees as well as for any employees who are part of an onsite workplace exposure, beginning in the winter quarter. Additional information about this will be distributed districtwide and made available on the HR COVID-19 Employee Information and Resources page.
The district is voluntarily extending the federal provisions for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA) for all employees through June 30, 2022. Please be advised that while the FFCRA leave provision will end at that time, employees may still be entitled to leave under their respective collective bargaining agreement using Family and Medical Leave Act, unpaid leave, etc.
Finally, there have been many questions and concerns regarding our HVAC systems. While there are no specific HVAC mandates from the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health, the department has provided recommendations in the form of guidance, which we are following to every extent possible. Please see the following websites for district and county HVAC information:
- Ventilation and HVAC Frequently Asked Questions – Foothill-De Anza:
- Guidance for Ventilation and Air Filtration Systems – Santa Clara County Department
of Public Health:
I’d like to close by thanking the members of the Consultation Task Force who have provided excellent advice as we collectively navigate a myriad of uncertainties. What is certain is that Foothill-De Anza will emerge from the pandemic better prepared to meet the needs of current and future students because of your thoughtfulness, intentionality, and dedication. It is truly a privilege and pleasure to work with you.
With best wishes for the holiday season and new year,