October 19 , 2021
Dear Berkeley City College Community,
I am writing to provide you with an update to the communication I sent on October 1, 2021 regarding the BCC return to campus (RTC) plan. As a reminder, the October 1st communication was following Interim Chancellor Jackson’s September 24th communication to the district. There have been several questions and concerns related to our RTC plans and I appreciate the space to allow me and the leadership team to engage in deep discussions, learnings about facilities and safety related items, and the chance to communicate with the community as updates are available. I believe that we are in a better position to provide appropriate and effective actions to come back to campus.
Since my last communication to the BCC Community, we have had the following activities:
- October 4, 2021 PCCD Return to Campus Town Hall
- October 7, 20221 BCC Return to Campus Town Hall for employees: 10-7-2021 Berkeley City College Return To Campus Town Hall Recording
- October 15, 2021 BCC Return to Campus Town Hall for students
- Meet and Confer with SEIU BCC Stewards and District SEIU Officers
- Consultation sessions with the Presidents of the Classified Senate and Academic Senate
- 2 RTC Weekly Updates from VP of Administrative Services, Sean Brooks
Facilities Assessments & Remediation Efforts
Over the past few weeks, the District has addressed key items pertaining to campus readiness, as related to facilities and HR matters. Some of these actions include replacing all air filters, removing debris around HVAC units and equipment, and the campus rooms that are designated for use meet Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards. The Department of General Services will continue to coordinate district wide assessments and remediation efforts for facilities, health, safety, and security activities. The Phase 1, 2a, and 2b plans were communicated at the PCCD RTC Town Hall and shared again at the BCC RTC Town Hall. Additional updates for facilities and HR related matters will be included in VP Brooks’ weekly communications.
At Berkeley City College a random sample of rooms were assessed on the 5th floor to determine the effective air quality exchange from each of the 4 HVAC units for the 2050 Center Street building. In a meeting with Forensic Analytics experts, the BCC executive leadership team learned that the BCC campus quality air exchange was appropriate; however, with only 4 rooms assessed, we did not feel it was an accurate representation of the overall campus air exchange quality. Therefore, an additional 85 spaces are being assessed throughout the building for quality air exchange beginning today and concluding on Friday, October 22, 2021. We will address any and all remediation efforts needed upon receiving the final report of these additional assessments. Last week, we received communication that the water assessments completed at BCC meet the industry standards for water management. The leadership team is committed to ensuring that BCC is compliant with all health and safety standards to address the concerns expressed over the past months.
Return to Campus Notices
As I shared in my October 1st communication, BCC was postponing the return dates to the week of October 18, 2021, at the soonest. The BCC Executive Cabinet held discussions with both the BCC Classified Senate leadership and BCC SEIU/District SEIU colleagues regarding the notices for classified professionals. The postponement provided time and space for colleagues to attend the District and BCC Town Halls, prior to receiving notices. The collective set of information, meetings, discussions, and air and water assessments provide a solid foundation for additional BCC employees to return to campus.
With a strategic focus on supporting student enrollment for continuing and new students, some SEIU colleagues will receive their two-week RTC notices later this afternoon, to report to campus beginning the week of Tuesday, November 2, 2021. BCC will have select face-to-face programs and services on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9:00 – 5:00pm. Supervisors will work directly with SEIU colleagues to determine the days and hours for on campus presence. A comprehensive list of face-to-face programs and services will be communicated to the campus by October 30, 2021 and posted on the BCC website.
Campus Access & Vaccination Requirement Updates
BCC employees must continue to use Company Nurse for compliance with the vaccination policy requirement and daily health screenings. The enforcement of vaccination policy requirements for students includes a partnership with Bright Star Care, which provides a Certified Nursing Assistant (CAN) and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) professional to oversee the vaccination/screening requirements for students. They will verify vaccination compliance, including any students requiring assistance with meeting the weekly testing requirements for exemptions.
BCC will have weekly on-campus COVID-19 testing, provided by Virtual Health Services available for all, especially for those students and employees for whom it is mandated as part of the vaccination exemption. VP Brooks will communicate the day and time during his weekly communication and upon confirmation of our scheduled day and time with district colleagues. For those employees who remain unvaccinated and are waiting for a decision on their Exemption Requests, you are directed to work from home and begin weekly testing until such time as you are contacted by the Office of Human Resources regarding next steps. All employees must be compliant with the vaccination policy as of October 13, 2021. For reference, you can visit the SAFE Peralta website for more information on the vaccination requirement, COVID prevention plan, etc. or visit the FAQs for Faculty and Staff for additional information.
The BCC College Mid-Semester Flex day is tomorrow and will include a session at the end of the day for additional Return to Campus updates. We know that there were unanswered questions from the BCC Town Hall and the leadership team is working to confirm answers for tomorrow’s afternoon session. I look forward to sharing space with each of you tomorrow, as we continue to support one another to provide students with the caring and high-quality instruction and support that they are accustomed to receiving.
We are all working and existing in incredibly challenging circumstances. I recognize that preparing to return to campus may be surfacing some questions, concerns, and overall anxiety. I hope that the town halls and weekly communications will provide the space to share some of these experiences, while also having your questions addressed. I thank you for staying engaged and committed to supporting the college to meet the academic and career needs of students.
Angélica Garcia, Ed.D.