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Planning a Safe Return

Planning for a healthy and safe return to our campuses.


Since March 2020, the global COVID-19 pandemic and public health conditions in our region have led to an unprecedented and rapid transition of all classes and college operations to online. Our students, faculty, and staff have been extraordinarily flexible and creative in managing the countless variables associated with this transition, and have mitigated the effects of these circumstances incredibly, given the circumstances.

While there still remain many questions about how long we will be operating predominantly online, we must plan for our eventual return to campus now. That planning will be collaborative and take many variables into account, including regional public health conditions, access to vaccinations, the needs of our students, instructional planning timelines, the physical readiness of our facilities, and many more. We plan to be prepared to return to campus for fall 2021, with the recognition that we don't yet know if that will be possible. This page is designed to transparently share and catalog those discussions, and to provide opportunities for all stakeholders to provide comments and feedback.

Reopening Planning Team Charter

Reopening Planning Report

Based on engagement with key stakeholders – including the board of trustees and labor and senate partners as appropriate – the Los Rios Reopening Planning Team submitted a refined report titled, A Framework for Reopening In-Person Instruction, Student Services, and Administrative Services. The report outlines a detailed and specific framework and plan for reopening to the chancellor and college presidents.

The Los Rios Reopening Planning Team also released an initial Reopening Planning Report in January 2021 after gathering feedback at Flex Week Reopening Plan Listening Sessions, through this website, and in other campus- and district-wide discussions.

Input and Feedback Form

Provide input and feedback on the reopening report or the reopening planning process in general. All submissions will be publicly visible.

Reopening Planning Team Leadership

The planning for reopening must and will include input and feedback from all constituents and stakeholders. To reopen our colleges safely and effectively, and make sure our students' needs are met in that process, it is going to take a collective effort among administrators, faculty, and staff. The chancellor and our college presidents have asked four of our district's top leaders to spearhead the implementation of this effort.

Davin Brown

Davin Brown
Vice President, Student Services
Sacramento City College

Frank Kobayashi

Frank Kobayashi
Vice President, Instruction
American River College

Monica Pactol

Monica Pactol
Vice President, Instruction
Folsom Lake College

Theresa Tena

Theresa Tena
Vice President, Administration
Cosumnes River College

Stakeholder Engagement

Employee Feedback

See the reopening feedback we received through our online feedback form. Note: you must be logged in to your Los Rios Google account to view this information.

Steering Committee

On Monday, January 25, 2021, the decision was made to have Chancellor's Cabinet – which includes representatives from all of our Academic, Classified, and Student Senates, as well as all of our labor partners – serve as the steering committee for reopening.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will the Los Rios colleges offer classes online or on-ground in fall 2021?

The fall 2021 schedule will include a "hybrid" mixture of both online and on-ground classes (more on-ground classes than we offered in spring 2021, but substantially fewer than usual). Expanded on-ground offerings will include 22 "impossible to convert" Career Education programs (programs that have been almost entirely in hibernation for the past year), as well as a small number of additional exceptions where facilities and program dynamics allow for maintaining social distancing protocols while not reducing course access (for example, classes traditionally and regularly taught outside). If there are substantial changes to regional public health conditions in the weeks leading up to the start of the semester, then we will reassess and make adjustments as necessary.

With planning for the fall instructional schedule now underway in time to publish the full schedule by April 5, we still have more time to assess ongoing public health conditions before making decisions about in-person student services and business functions for this fall. As part of that consideration, we recognize that some service areas may not go back to how they were before the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout spring 2021, we will be having discussions about what a post-Coronavirus Los Rios looks like, and where there are opportunities to leverage what we've learned over the past year to benefit students in the short-, medium-, and long-term.

Who is making these decisions around reopening plans?

We are in an era of only complicated and hard decisions, often exasperated by the fact that we frequently have a little information to frame our decision-making. We are committed to working closely with all stakeholders and constituencies to solicit feedback on important decisions and communicate clearly about what is being decided and when.

To that end, we have already begun leveraging the Chancellor's Cabinet – which is designed explicitly to include voices of all constituent leaders from across our four colleges and the district (see Regulation R-3411: Participatory Governance) – as a steering committee for this decision-making process. Importantly, our labor partners are at the table as well, and we will continue to work with them directly on any items that are negotiable.

Though many of the decisions regarding reopening specific parts of our instructional, student services, or administrative operations will ultimately be made by the chancellor under the direction of our elected Board of Trustees, we must and will make those decisions based on the counsel of public health experts and feedback from students, faculty, and staff.

Are we reopening our campuses for summer 2021?

The summer 2021 semester will again be predominantly online with only limited exceptions for some impossible-to-convert programs and very limited on campus activities ("impossible-to-convert" programs include only programs that have not been offered online at all since the onset of the pandemic).

This includes programs training first responders and students in other allied health fields critical to our regional COVID-19 response efforts, as well as the potential for some impossible-to-convert career education programs that have been in hibernation since the onset of the pandemic. Of course, any possibility of offering on-ground classes is contingent on public health conditions and having thorough safety plans in place.

If we can’t offer everything on campus, then how will we decide which classes or services to prioritize?

When we are able to expand on-campus offerings, the first priority will be to resume impossible to convert classes and programs (such as classes and programs that have been in complete hibernation since the move to remote operations). Getting these students back engaged and moving towards their degree or certificate is the top priority.

After we are able to resume impossible-to-convert classes and programs, we will begin assessing the viability of transitioning other classes back to on-ground based on public health conditions, facility capacity, and student demand. There is no specific timetable for these specific discussions, but we continue to engage with constituent leaders through Chancellor’s Cabinet to ensure that we have broad feedback on this planning.

Are faculty and staff eligible for vaccinations? How do they access vaccination appointments?

All Los Rios employees are currently eligible to schedule an appointment to get vaccinated. The vaccine is available to all Los Rios employees free of charge. Details on vaccine clinics for eligible childcare providers and educators can be found on the Sacramento County Vaccination Registration website. This website will be updated regularly as new appointments become available.

Unfortunately, being eligible for the vaccine does not mean that vaccination appointments are immediately available or that there are enough doses, but it is an important step towards getting Los Rios faculty, staff, and administrators immunized soon. Please see the important information from Sacramento County regarding eligibility and the process to schedule your appointment. Even though some of the links on the County's website don't specifically mention the availability of vaccines for education-sector employees yet, we expect the County and their partners to update this information when more appointments are available.

Notes from Sacramento County

  • Vaccine supply is very limited. There are currently hundreds of thousands of people eligible for vaccination in Sacramento County and it will likely take months to vaccinate all childcare providers and educators in Sacramento County.
  • Do not post this information on social media or otherwise share it with friends, family, or others who are not currently eligible for vaccination. Doing so will further delay vaccination of eligible individuals.
  • Appointments are required for vaccination and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you are unable to schedule an appointment, then it is because they are full. Continue to check back for additional appointments, which will be added as new clinics are added.

What is the process to "ready" a building? What types of inspection, testing, and replacement of equipment will occur – daily, weekly, and monthly – before the start of fall 2021?

COVID mitigation measures to prepare our facilities primarily involve building ventilation and air filtration systems, but Facilities Management (FM) would also do a full HVAC system functions test and inspection for each building prior to occupancy (as outlined in Making Our Buildings Resilient During COVID-19).

Before the pandemic, we already regularly performed these system checks throughout the year, typically coinciding with filter replacements (every four months). Now, we will perform additional checks before reopening facilities. These checks help ensure systems are performing the necessary CDC/ASHRAE recommended air exchanges and sufficient outside fresh air is being pulled into the buildings.

Before reopening a facility, we will also verify that we can remotely communicate with the building's HVAC controls through the District's Energy Management System (EMS). Read Making Our Buildings Resilient During COVID-19 to learn more.

When will all buildings have air filtration equivalent to N95 masks?

All buildings that are currently occupied have MERV-13 filters, the industry standard for COVID-19 mitigation. MERV-13 filters are recommended because they can trap smaller particles, including viruses, and are equivalent to N95 masks with regards to protection and air quality.

In the event a building's HVAC system cannot accommodate the MERV-13 filters, we are performing additional building "flushing" two hours prior and two hours after occupancy as recommended by CDC/ASHRAE for these situations. As more buildings open to accommodate more people coming on to campus, we will perform HVAC system checks and filter changes prior to occupancy.

Buildings are being prioritized in the order they will be occupied with the goal of all buildings being ready (with system checks and filter replacements complete) no later than July 31, 2021, so we are prepared for whatever on-campus activities take place in the fall. Read Making Our Buildings Resilient During COVID-19 to learn more.

What is the Cal OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Program?

Cal OSHA regulations require that employers implement a site-specific, written COVID-19 prevention program to address COVID-19 health hazards, correct unsafe or unhealthy conditions, and provide face coverings. The program includes:

  • Identifying and evaluating employee exposures to COVID-19 health hazards
  • Implementing effective policies and procedures to correct unsafe and unhealthy conditions (such as safe physical distancing, modifying the workplace, and staggering work schedules)
  • Providing and ensuring workers wear face coverings to prevent exposure in the workplace
  • Provide effective training and instruction to employees on how COVID-19 is spread, infection prevention techniques, and information regarding COVID-19-related benefits that affected employees may be entitled to under applicable federal, state, or local laws
  • Read the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards – What Employers Need to Know

Approved Safety Plans