Norco College president and essential staff chosen at Riverside Community College District Board of Trustees meeting March 17

By Leo Cabral

In the midst of all the precautions to prevent COVID-19 from spreading, the Board of Trustees live streamed their meeting and canceled presentations and unnecessary reports to get on with more pressing matters.

First, Monica Green was appointed Norco College’s fourth president in a unanimous vote. Her employment is for two years.

Next, the Board laid out an updated list of essential personnel required to be on campus. Classified staff have been placed into four categories.

  • Category one: These staff are deemed essential to campus functions and are to work onsite. Workers will be paid overtime to compensate for the heightened risk of the coronavirus. Some of the personnel in this category are police officers, mechanics, lab technicians, custodians and grounds persons.
  • Category two: These are employees who can work from home but may be required to be onsite as needed.
  • Category three: Those who work remotely that may need their computers upgraded with software or who need a Virtual Private Network to work with District files are in this category.
  • Category four: These are non essential personnel who have been put on standby because their work has slowed due to the recent changes. Some of the positions in this category are community service aides, food service workers, outreach and recruitment specialists and learning center assistants.

The list is subject to change due to concerns and regulations pertaining to the pandemic. Some classified staff are trying to convince the Board to decrease the number of essential employees even more.

“We are continuously refining this,” said Chancellor Wolde-Ab Isaac in reference to how flexible these things must be in times of uncertainty.

The Board also stated that anyone 65 and older must stay home and work remotely. Authorized personnel will have special stickers they can affix to their vehicles approving their presence.

Food pantries will continue to operate but they will be in grab and go fashion near a road on the edge of campus to prevent any non essential persons from stepping foot on the premises. All perishable food items from the campus cafeterias and the Culinary Arts Building will be donated to a local food bank.

Student workers will still get paid and those who use the school as their address can pick up their paychecks near the food distribution. According to Isaac, this is also where students can receive necessary equipment for online classes like laptops or iPads. A set location for these services has yet to be designated.

“We have this one week before classes go online to make sure that we finish all that preparation,” Isaac said.

Student Trustee Jorge Zavala addressed concerns that students may not know about the services that are being offered to them during this transition period and urged that faculty and staff tell their students about the available resources. He also addressed student veterans concerns about the G.I. Bill covering online classes but Isaac said that the Board would get waivers for student veterans.

Board of Trustees President Mary Figueroa addressed Public Health Officer Cameron Kaiser’sannouncement that all Riverside County schools should remain closed until Apr. 30.

“We are now looking at the entire month of April as not being functioning on a person-to-person basis,” Figueroa said before adjourning the meeting. “We are in uncharted territory. We want to thank everybody for hanging in there with us.”