Focuses on health and safety for Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College students and employees.
Santa Ana, CA – Rancho Santiago Community College District’s (RSCCD) Board of Trustees unanimously passed the District’s Return to Work Action Plan on August 10, 2020, detailing how RSCCD will safely reopen Santa Ana College (SAC) and Santiago Canyon College (SCC) campuses for students and employees.
While most colleges are remaining online and offering a limited number of in person classes for essential workers, RSCCD’s strategy is to offer students different remote instruction options that provide them with opportunities for increased live interaction with their faculty and other students. The impact of COVID-19 has decreased fall semester enrollment statewide, as students are choosing to opt out of school this fall because they don’t want to take online classes. “Many students are deciding to sit out this year which has many of us alarmed and concerned,” stated RSCCD Chancellor Marvin Martinez during Monday’s Board of Trustees Meeting. “We know how difficult it is to sit out a year and try to come back. We are hoping that by offering different remote instruction modalities, in addition to online, students will choose to attend in the fall.”
On August 7, 2020, the California Governor’s Office released guidelines outlining how college and university campuses can start opening for fall semester, even if a county, like Orange County, is on the State’s Monitoring List which restricts what businesses counties are allowed to reopen.
Being on the State’s Monitoring List limits RSCCD’s campuses to only offering face-to-face classes for essential workforce programs, such as Nursing, Fire, Welding, and Criminal Justice. Originally, Chancellor Martinez believed the State would be further along with managing the virus so campuses could offer a wider variety of indoor face-to-face classes.
When it became clear case numbers weren’t dropping, Martinez and RSCCD Trustees decided to move forward with a reopening plan because they believe by September or early October the county will be removed from the State’s Monitoring List. Removal from the State Monitoring List will allow both colleges to start offering a wider variety of face-to-face classes in fall semester, providing more students access to in-person learning as quickly as possible.
The District’s plan incorporates CDC, state, local, and agency guidelines including health screenings, social distancing protocols, additional cleaning and disinfecting, mandatory mask-wearing, and staggering classes to ensure large groups aren’t congregating in common areas. Board of Trustees’ President, Claudia Alvarez, added, “the Board is supportive of this measure, and we thank the Chancellor, faculty and staff who have worked very hard to identify the way forward to meet the needs of our students to the greatest extent possible.” Seeing these elevated levels of health and safety protocols and procedures being met was one of the main reasons RSCCD Trustees felt comfortable moving forward with the plan, as their utmost concern was for the health and safety of their students and employees.
SAC and SCC are providing learning options for students who want a mix of face-to-face and online classes with hybrid classes. There are also remote live classes that meet virtually at specific times just as face-to-face classes, as well as online classes that don’t have specific meeting times and allow students to complete the classwork on their schedule.
Classes begin at Santiago Canyon College and Santa Ana College on August 24th. Details of the Return to Work Action Plan can be found at rsccd.edu/Departments/HumanResources/.
About Rancho Santiago Community College District
Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College are public community colleges of the Rancho Santiago Community College District, which serves the residents of Anaheim Hills, Orange, Santa Ana, Villa Park, and portions of Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, and Tustin. Both colleges provide education for academic transfer and careers, courses for personal and professional development, and customized training for business and industry.