This article has been updated to include comment from the chancellor and student trustee Sept. 21 at 3:07 p.m.
By Leo Cabral and Daniel Hernandez
The Riverside Community College District extended the deadline for students to receive the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine after faculty members voiced their concerns about the lack of recent communication provided to students.
Students received an email Sept. 16 informing students that it was their last day to receive their second vaccine dose in order to comply with the Sept. 30 full vaccination deadline. Students who did not comply with the deadline would be dropped from both face-to-face and hybrid classes if they were not fully vaccinated by the final deadline.
However, with the sparse email announcements from the district, many students were not prepared.
Students received district email announcements Aug. 11, 12 and 18 informing them of the vaccination deadlines they must meet in order to stay enrolled in their in-person and hybrid courses.
This prompted Paul O’Connell, an Automotive Technology instructor, to send out an email to faculty and staff claiming that students have reached out to him expressing their dismay about the same-day notice. He also claimed that the district has not communicated effectively to students throughout this process and should move the deadline to a further date.
As a result, the Faculty Association and Chancellor Wolde-ab Isaac held an emergency meeting to discuss extending the deadline.
“It appears there was some confusion,” the Sept. 17 email from the chancellor stated. “In an effort to support all of those working towards full vaccination, recognizing that some may have misunderstood the September 30 deadline to be the date by which they were to receive their second dose, the deadline has been extended.”
The new deadline now allows students to reach full vaccination status by Oct. 14.
“As Student Trustee I am delighted that the deadline got pushed back,” Student Trustee Jack Harris said. “I think the best thing to do is to push back until winter arrives… It is helpful for our most economically disadvantaged students who must work a lot and often don’t have reliable transportation or even childcare, however, students who are partially vaccinated still should maintain vigilance for their fellows with pre-existing conditions of life including autoimmunity, morbid obesity, old age, etc,”
The district will most likely utilize the CLEARED4 system and continue to offer COVID-19 tests and vaccinations through the fall to spring semester.
“I know it has been very stressful for everyone,” Isaac said. “And I’m deeply grateful for people’s patience and tenacity and determination.”
Isaac continued to thank the student body and all district employees for their cooperation.