In the wake of the infectious Delta variant, COVID-19 continues to affect many aspects of daily life including getting a college education in California. After a year of remote learning, PCC and various other colleges are ready to open their doors. However, with a vaccine mandate in place, reduced class sizes and many students suddenly returning to online learning environments this semester, any sense of normality on campus is still distant.
As of Fall 2021, PCC requires all students and faculty on campus to be vaccinated against COVID-19, unless exempt due to an approved medical condition or religious status. Partially vaccinated students may also be present on campus temporarily, provided they submit proof of their in-progress vaccination status. All PCC students must be fully vaccinated by Sept. 13 and have until Sept. 30 to submit proof of vaccination. Students without proof of vaccination will be dropped from any on-campus courses in which they are enrolled. Despite the strict Covid regulations, many courses have reverted back to online learning as an added precaution.
The CDC recommends all higher education facilities provide vaccination resources when transitioning back to in-person courses. Many institutions such as the UC system and neighboring Glendale Community College have implemented similar on-campus vaccination policies, and the number of California colleges requiring a vaccine is only rising since the FDA approval of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine on Aug. 23.
Students who will be returning to class on campus are expected to comply with the safety measures put in place by PCC. A full list of recommendations can be found online, but some of the safety measures include reduced class sizes, a mask mandate, air purifiers in classrooms and daily health screenings.
These changes are in alignment with CDC guidelines as community transmission in Los Angeles County is still considered to be high. Although classes are in session, faculty and students are still expected to take the recommended safety precautions as a result of the rising number of positive Covid cases in Los Angeles and surrounding areas.
The PCC Faculty Association also released an agreement stating that all courses with a Form D will be fully online. A Form D is required by PCC in order to teach any class that is partially or fully online. It essentially outlines the course outcomes and makes sure an online class will meet the criteria necessary for students to receive credit. Classes with a Form D are usually intended to be either hybrid or remote, however many qualifying classes have been switched back to online only in the wake of the Faculty Association’s new policy. This could be why many students who enrolled for hybrid classes are now going back to remote learning, which has understandably caused confusion.
The public health recommendations and guidelines issued by the college hardly differ from the rules carried out by most public indoor spaces throughout LA County. Students can also find plenty of easily accessible resources throughout PCC’s website.
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