EDITORIAL: RCC needs to implement a better communication strategy

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The Riverside Community College District implemented a vaccine mandate on Aug. 10, two weeks before the three campuses were preparing to open. (Daniel Hernandez | Viewpoints)

Riverside City College’s lack of transparency regarding COVID-19 has been detrimental to its students’ well-being.

Students have been inconvenienced at every turn throughout the fall semester; from the late implementation of a vaccine mandate to the last-minute reminder about the vaccination deadline. RCC’s lack of communication regarding COVID is something that needs to improve in order to better protect its students.

We, the Viewpoints editorial board, believe that RCC should implement a new communication strategy that better informs students about potential coronavirus exposures on campus.  

When the fall semester began, there were CLEARED4 check-in stations, but those check-in stations disappeared within a week without RCC students knowing why they were no longer available on campus. An explanation was offered via email after it was noted that those stations were gone.

What is left of the CLEARED4 system is a mandatory survey given each week that asks yes or no questions about possible COVID symptoms, but it’s not enough.

Exposures to COVID-19 have made their way onto campus, with many RCC students unaware and uninformed.

On Sept. 15, an email was sent out selectively notifying some faculty and students about two employees and four students who had been exposed to COVID-19. 

The individuals made several stops around the campus, including the Wheelock Stadium, the Nursing Building and the Math and Science Building.

However, those were not the last exposures that occurred at RCC.

On Sept. 24, another email was sent notifying a few about more exposures at the college.

Two students tested positive and visited rooms in the Math and Science and the Nursing buildings Sept. 20 and 22.

A considerable number of RCC students were not notified of the dangers they could have been exposed to by visiting those same locations. Additionally, there may be other areas on campus the infected students visited of which everyone is unaware.

Emails have been a frequent form of communication that RCC has used to communicate with its students, especially at the beginning of Riverside Community College District’s shutdown in March 2020.

However, daily emails from Canvas, CLEARED4 or student services have become repetitive, which bombard RCC students with messages overflowing inboxes and making it difficult to decipher what is important.

It’s a disservice to RCC students to not disclose the COVID-19 exposures occurring on their campus to the entire student body. RCC administration needs to improve its communication, not just through emails, but perhaps through phone calls, Zoom conferences or live on social media platforms as well to ensure that students and employees are informed of recent exposure risks. Students and employees deserve to be aware of what is happening at their place of study and work.

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