After some faculty members and students held a demonstration last week about returning to campus, PCC welcomed students and faculty back to school this week with multiple COVID testing sites and equipped everyone with a pack of triple-layered surgical-grade masks.

Over the weekend, the Pasadena Area Community College District (PACCD) and the PCC Faculty Association (PCCFA) negotiated terms about returning to campus amid a rising surge in COVID cases. According to an email sent from the district to the faculty, there were meetings on Jan. 21 and Jan. 22. At one point, the district presented the faculty union an incentive of approximately $1,200 per member for adhering to COVID testing and booster vaccinations.

On Friday, January 21, the day the PCCFA sent the email, the district had met with them for nearly seven hours discussing and editing proposals,” Superintendent President Erika Endrijonas said. “The PCCFA shut down these negotiations and informed the district that they were no longer willing to meet.”

“On Saturday, January 22, at the request of the district, the district and PCCFA met again,” Endrijonas continued. “The district presented a draft proposal that included enhanced testing requirements and approximately $1,200 per member in incentives to faculty for COVID-19 testing and booster vaccinations. Unfortunately, the PCCFA was unwilling to discuss the proposal, closed down negotiations, and abruptly left the meeting.”

The PCCFA sent an email to its members on Sunday, Jan. 23, expressing their disdain about the result of the negotiations. The FA referred to the district’s decision as a “callous and illegal disregard for the health and safety of faculty and students.”

PCCFA’s email to the faculty cites a recent LA County report from Saturday that there have been 39,000 new cases, 72 deaths, and higher hospitalization rates. The FA believes they have sufficient evidence to prove a need for continued remote learning. According to the email, those who are concerned for their health should “inform the district of their conviction that they should, for safety reasons, continue conducting their courses remotely, off-campus, during their scheduled days and times.”

The Faculty Association assured members they had consulted with their attorneys regarding a faculty member’s decision to continue remote learning. Should the district take any disciplinary action against the concerned member’s decision to continue remote education, PCCFA told the faculty to refer to their “Weingarten Rights,” and they have the right to have a Faculty Association representative present at disciplinary meetings.

On Monday, Jan. 24, PCC Spokesperson Alex Boekelheide emailed faculty, informing them about adjustments to testing sites and reiterating their decision to return to campus. Boekelheide addressed the new testing sites that will now only consist of two walk-up sites: Lot 4, Level 1, and Lot 5, Level 3. These will be the new COVID testing sites moving forward.

Boekelheide concluded the email with an address to faculty that no changes to the class format will be made.

The delays in testing today caused unscheduled cancellations of some classes, and we are sorry for any inconvenience this caused,” Boekelheide wrote. “Please understand that classes are not permitted to be moved to remote learning, and all courses listed as face-to-face in the Schedule of Classes must be held as such.”

The school provided an updated COVID testing map with the new location and testing schedule. Lancers can refer to this web page with abundant helpful resources to help guide them through their transition back to campus.

Students experiencing COVID-like symptoms (cough, fever, sore throat, etc.) can refer to this guide for additional resources.

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