April 6, 2021
Dear Colleagues –
As expected, Los Angeles County moved into the Orange Tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy on Monday, April 5.
This change in status brings increased operational flexibility to a wide variety of industries and businesses, including colleges and universities. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) updated its Protocols for Institutes of Higher Education, so I am writing to share the latest developments and how we expect them to enhance our ability to serve students on both campuses while continuing to focus on protecting the health and safety of our employees and students.
Here is an overview of the key changes in the protocols. Institutions can:
- Offer in-person lectures on-campus up to 50% occupancy of the lecture hall or classroom or 200 individuals, whichever is less.
- Allow student gatherings at 25% occupancy or 100 individuals, whichever is smaller, for outdoor spaces; and 25% occupancy or 50 individuals, whichever is smaller, for indoor spaces.
- Open libraries for in-person services to registered students, faculty and staff, limited to 75% capacity and in compliance with the DPH Protocol for Libraries.
- Offer use of outdoor recreational sports courts, fields, and facilities for permitted recreational sports activities and physical conditioning.
The protocols require the wearing of masks and maintaining 6-foot physical distancing while on campus.
While limited in-person academic instruction can resume, DPH did not expand the number of students allowed in labs, and it recommends that academic instruction continue to be offered via distance-learning to further reduce the size of in-person classes and the on-campus footprint. To that end, Spring 2021 semester classes will continue in the formats in which they are now being delivered. We have no plans to shift our current OnlineLive classes back to campus this semester.
What Do We Have Planned?
With more on-campus activities allowed, we will be looking for more ways to serve students in person.
- Student Services offices are developing plans now to re-open on a limited basis beginning April 12. More details will be shared later this week.
- Student-athletes will return to campus the week of April 12 to begin on-campus conditioning.
- Study spaces will continue to be available for student use in the TLC. Students can book their appointments here. (Tutoring through the TLC will continue to be offered online).
- Essential Infrastructure discipline lab classes will continue to be offered on campus through Spring, Summer, and Fall 2021.
- Summer 2021 will see an increase of in-person classes for disciplines such as Kinesiology and Noncredit.
- Beginning Fall 2021, we will see an increase of in-person labs for disciplines such as Biology, Chemistry, and MEA.
- Beginning Fall 2021, we will see an increase in various lecture courses such as Cinema, English, ESL, History, Kinesiology, Math, Noncredit, and Philosophy.
This is an exciting and long-awaited development. While we still have a long way to go, reaching the Orange Tier is a positive step forward and one that allows us to further expand access to the campus for our students. They need that interaction, and frankly, so do I. It’s been far too long since our spaces have buzzed with the energy and enthusiasm that our students bring. I miss it, and I look forward to seeing them beginning to return to campus where we can better help them achieve their goals and dreams.
Dianne Van Hook