By Leo Cabral
As COVID-19 cases have surged and fallen in the last year, and as the virus mutates, the state has experienced shutdowns, soft re-openings and indefinitely delayed in-person events.
Since California returned to its Blueprint for a Safer Economy system of re-opening Jan. 25, the Riverside Community College District’s Safe Return Task Force and students across the state have had something to look forward to.
The Safe Return to Campus plan is based on California’s color-coded, tiered blueprint and on guidelines for higher education from the California Department of Public Health. Riverside County is in the purple, or “widespread,” tier.
“RCCD’s work groups of the Safe Return Task Force are currently revising the RCCD Safe Return Plan,” Wolde-Ab Isaac, district chancellor, said in an email. “It will be shared mid-month with the full task force and when approved, the updates will be made on the district’s website.”
Ever since COVID-19 caused campuses and most other in-person institutions to shut down, one thing has been on many students’ minds: When will in-person instruction resume again?
Disappointingly for many, the answer is not a concrete one.
“The (COVID-19) situation is still fluctuating, which makes predicting the status of our plans difficult,” Isaac said. “One of our chief concerns is that the continuity of instruction is maintained. Whether online, hybrid or face-to-face, our faculty and staff are committed to providing a quality education to all of our students.”
While there is an active plan to get people back to campus, many administrators caution that things will not be exactly as they used to be. Stefany Moctezuma, vice president of the Associated Students of Riverside City College, recalled RCC President Gregory Anderson expressing this sentiment during a recent ASRCC meeting.
“I believe that many of us keep thinking that this is going to disappear, and everything’s going to go back to normal,” Moctezuma said. “And, sadly, it’s not going to be like that. So we’re not sure how it’s going to happen. We know that it is going to happen, but we don’t know when and we don’t know exactly how.”
Isaac said the spring and summer terms are going to be run “mostly online with some hybrid and face-to-face instruction in essential labs and courses.” The district anticipates that with the COVID-19 vaccinations rolling out, the county will be in a less restrictive tier in the state’s blueprint, so more classes may eventually take place on campus.
For more information and updates on the Safe Return to Campus visit www.rccd.edu/return.