By John Michael Guerrero
Two weeks before classes were set to begin, the Riverside Community College District Board of Trustees implemented a vaccine mandate and contracted CLEARED4 to handle the vaccine verification process.
“Our platform is very easy to use,” Ashley Heather, CLEARED4’s chief operating officer said during the Aug. 10 meeting. “Your team has already been trained on it so I think we’re at as good a place as we can be given the circumstances.”
However, some students and faculty have complained that the implementation of the CLEARED4 system was anything but easy.
Check-in booths, run by faculty and students, were set up throughout the Riverside City College campus to verify a student’s vaccination status during the first week of in-person classes. Students received a wristband after showing the blue or green pass that appeared on the CLEARED4 website. Following the first week of the fall 2021 term, the booths were removed and instructors were given a roster of cleared students, as well as administration having access to the CLEARED4 database.
According to Chancellor Wolde-ab Isaac, the color-coded wristbands at RCC disappeared as a result of the CLEARED4 database having vaccination records of all students enrolled in face-to-face or hybrid instruction, eliminating the need for the wristbands and check-in booths at RCC. He further explained that a major issue behind having the wristband system at RCC was a lack of “security” and being able to ensure every person entering the campus was checked and verified to be vaccinated and COVID free.
“Riverside is very porous, you can get into the campus through multiple entrances,” Chancellor Isaac said. “They did not have ‘checkpoints’ at every entrance point (at RCC), there could be 12, 13 or even 15 different places you can come into campus.”
Many professors had mixed opinions about removing the check-in booths, although they also understood the complex planning needed to upkeep the system throughout the fall term.
“Having to check every student in cuts into my time a little bit since I have back-to-back classes,” Angie Burkhart, communication instructor, said. “I do realize that takes extra manpower on campus to hand out wristbands.”
Students and faculty have also expressed mixed opinions on the CLEARED4 system. Many have pointed out how students might decide to breeze through the questionnaire rather than taking the survey seriously.
“I think it would be easy… it depends on how the person answers those questions… it’s self reporting, so there is obviously going to be some kind of problem there,” Patty Golder, English instructor, said. “If people are honest, I don’t see any problem there.”
Students and faculty also pointed out the issue of knowing if and when a person has been in contact with COVID due to the disease’s dormancy period.
“Students just can click ‘no’ when they might feel symptoms (of COVID),” Ashley Rojos, nursing major, said. “I don’t think it would be fair to students on campus… we are risking our health.”
Despite its rocky start this fall term, CLEARED4 will continue to be used throughout RCCD and continue to serve as a database of all partially and fully vaccinated students and faculty.
“(CLEARED4) is easy for everyone to use, one of the first (tracking systems) out there, and it has maintained (the safety of) all students and (faculty on campus),” Virginia Blumenthal, Board of Trustee member, said.