Dear Berkeley City College Community,
Feliz Año Nuevo- Happy New Year! I hope that you enjoyed your time over the holiday break and that you are well. I am excited for the new year, new semester, and the chance to see more of you beginning this semester.
At this time, PCCD and the Colleges are following the guidance provided in the aforementioned entities and will provide the scheduled in-person and hybrid classes and services beginning January 11, 2022. There have been some concerns expressed regarding the increase of the Omicron variant and whether BCC and PCCD overall might delay return to campus for employees and students. The Peralta Community College District (PCCD) is following the Cal/OSHA, Alameda County Department of Public Health, City of Berkeley COVID Protocols, most notably requiring that everyone wear masks while indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
This communication is intended to provide you with an update regarding the efforts underway to ensure a safe and healthy return to campus. VP Sean Brooks’ weekly RTC update on Friday, January 7th (attached) provided key updates related to remediation of spaces throughout the building for air exchange standards, student vaccination compliance support, weekly COVID testing, and security.
You may have received some of this information from earlier emails or by attending the Safe Peralta Return to Campus Town Hall meeting. (Click Here to View) But we want to communicate as frequently and broadly as possible, as we recognize that the concerns are shared, real, and ongoing.
On Campus Working Hours For Classified Professional Colleagues:
The Return to Campus notices were sent out to some classified professional colleagues before the break, with Tuesday, January 11, 2022 being the targeted date of return. The set working schedule is Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. There will be instances where some classified professional colleagues are adhering to a different schedule, but those exceptions have been determined on a case-by-case basis to meet programming needs of students. The main goal is to ensure that students are able to access face-to-face services during these hours of operation with the ability to access online support throughout the week as well.
The District has completed its assessment of the working spaces at Berkeley City College. I am pleased to report that for the majority of our spaces, there was sufficient air flow which is critical in minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. For those areas where the air circulation needed to be augmented, the District provided air purifiers so as to ensure adequate air exchange rate. The Department of General Services (DGS) in partnership with Network Environmental Services, Inc. (NES) installed the air purifiers over the holiday break so that all work spaces meet industry targets. The final report is available at Safe Peralta website but I am attaching it here as well for your review and convenience.
Our continued protocol for accessing Berkeley City College, includes: (1) Compliance with Company Nurse for both vaccination record upload and daily screenings. Instructions on how to use the Company Nurse website can be found on the Safe Peralta- Faculty and Staff Resources site; (2)Wearing facial masks that effectively cover your nose and mouth while inside the building, unless you are alone in an office with the door closed, eating and/or drinking; and (3) Washing hands for 20 seconds.
I recommend that you complete your daily screening on Company Nurse prior to arriving for a smoother entrance process. As VP Brooks has communicated consistently, a “green badge” is needed to enter the building. For those who have an approved medical, disability or religious exemption, please note that you are required to submit weekly negative COVID-19 tests. The test results should be uploaded by Friday of each week (see VP Brooks’ communication for PCCD test sites and hours).
Students accessing in-person courses, including hybrid, and face-to-face services (such as, the library, counseling, tutoring, etc.) are required to upload proof of full vaccination (unless they have a pre-approved medical or religious exemption on file with the District). After much consideration and discussion and for Spring 2022, we have determined that students who are only taking online classes will not be required to upload vaccination proof unless they step foot on campus. However, Berkeley City College remains committed to helping students get their vaccination information uploaded to campus Solutions. Bright Star staff, student ambassadors, and BCC staff will assist students in this endeavor. For international students, the District is now accepting alternative vaccines approved by the World Health Organization for compliance with the District’s vaccination policy. The list of those vaccines are available here: https://covid19.trackvaccines.org/agency/who/
The Office of Human Resources has reached out to employees to confirm that everyone is adhering to the vaccination policy. Non-compliance will be handled appropriately and those who have been granted exemptions have been notified and apprised of the guidelines that they need to follow.
Here are a few links that you may find helpful:
The most updated information regarding the District’s efforts can still be found at Safe Peralta: Peralta Secure.
In closing, I want to underscore that the circumstances related COVID-19 and the emerging variants are constantly changing. In collaboration with colleagues from the district and sister colleges, we are being as vigilant and thoughtful as possible in our assessment of the situation. As such, I appreciate your support and partnership in our efforts to contend with the pandemic, meet the needs of students, and most importantly to keep each other safe. Our plan for now is to continue with the return to campus of in-person classes and services, but please know that we will keep you informed should anything change in the coming days/weeks to come.
Please feel free to contact me or your immediate supervisor with any questions and we will do our very best to answer them.