December 15, 2020
Dear Berkeley City College Community,
Tis the last week of finals,
and all through the land,
we are still sheltered in place….
so NOT what we planned.
Who knew COVID would keep us away so long,
However, BCC is still staying strong!
It’s the last week of the fall 2020 semester and final exams are underway. For students and faculty, Friday, December 18, 2020 will mark their last day of the fall semester. For classified professionals and administrators, we have a few more days into next week to wrap-up final College business matters. I imagine that the holiday break is a much welcomed time for rest and recovery. The following communication is focused on updates related to COVID-19 and the spring 2021 semester.
shared in my previous communication on November 17, 2020 updates regarding COVID-19 and the recent surge of cases. The California Department of Public Health reports that there are 1,551,766 (+302,798 since 12/1 communication) COVID-19 cases with 20,969 (+1,828) fatalities as of December 13, 2020. Despite the behaviors of many to shelter in place, to wear face coverings, to wash hands for at least 20 seconds, to limit gatherings that increase exposure, the County of Alameda has moved back into the Purple Tier Status, per the California Department of Public Health, effective November 18, 2020. The rapid and widespread increases in COVID-19 cases have led to this action and additional information can be found in the November 16, 2020 County of Alameda Press Release re: Purple Tier Status. As the data indicate, we find ourselves witnessing a significant upswing in COVID-19 test-positives. This surge in infections has brought to light the lack of ICU capacity to treat everyone who becomes critically ill, unless we help to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Governor Newsom, along with state and county health officials, have called for the shelter-in-place restrictions until January 4, 2021.
Across the Peralta Community College District, there have been reported cases of exposure, as well as some COVID-19 confirmed cases. These documented exposures and positive diagnoses have been diligently followed by the Human Resources department (for employees) and by Dr. Mia Kelly and the Roots Clinic (for students). The combination of state, local, and district wide data inputs serve to inform us of critical next steps.
Berkeley City College will continue to offer instruction, academic and student support services fully online via distance education platforms for the spring 2021 semester. We were prepared to offer some face-to-face Chemistry and Biology labs on campus, After careful review for health & safety protocols, we were prepared to offer some face-to-face Chemistry and Biology labs on campus with essential PPE gear to support faculty, students, and staff. However, the Purple Tier status provides guidance on “essential vs. “non-essential” instruction, and guidance for schools that did not have students on campus previously are not able to access a waiver to bring students to campus at this time. Berkeley City College does not have any programs that are considered “essential” during this health pandemic. At this time, we will not proceed with offering face-to-face lab instruction. A final determination regarding the scope of instruction will be informed by the information we receive from government and health officials on January 4, 2021. I will provide any updates as soon as possible after January 4th.
The Berkeley City College campus will continue to be open for faculty, staff, and administrators who need to perform essential function on Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 10:00 am – 2:00pm. Please continue to submit your Building Access Form to gain approval and access to offices and classrooms through December 22, 2020. The form provides a record of all personnel who enter the building and serves as record keeping, should there be a case of exposure.
The campus will be closed from December 23 – January 3rd and will re-open for access during the week of January 4, 2021. It is imperative that you continue to practice health and safety protocols while on campus, such as wearing a face covering, washing your hands, and maintaining 6 feet of social distancing.
Wishing you all the best during this Final Exam week and closing of the fall 2020 semester.