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Gavilan trustees approve COVID protocols for spring semester

College President Kathleen Rose says more classes will be conducted remotely.

A memorandum of understanding between the Gavilan Joint Community College District and the Gavilan College Faculty Association regarding COVID-19 protocols for the upcoming spring semester was approved at the regular meeting of the Gavilan College Board of Trustees on Jan. 11. The board was also updated on the college’s current Emergency Operations Center (EOC) activities as they pertain to the ongoing pandemic.

At the time the memorandum was written, Gavilan was planning to increase face-to-face classes during the spring semester, which begins Jan. 31. That plan was later reversed due to the spike in COVID cases. 

The district and faculty association agreed to several measures to decrease the possible exposure of faculty members and students to the virus.  

They include:

  • Maintaining use of face masks indoors, to be required through the end of the semester regardless of county or CDC guidelines.
  • Offering district-facilitated meetings with a virtual option through the end of the semester.
  • Moving classes temporarily online when teachers have been exposed to the virus. 
  • Providing office equipment for home use as needed for faculty and staff working remotely.
  • Providing two weeks of paid sick leave for faculty working on campus which can be used for time spent while quarantined, experiencing symptoms or infected with COVID, going to an appointment to be vaccinated, or when caring for a sick or quarantined family member.

The college will maintain contact tracing and provide sanitation stations in each building as well as make N-95 respirators available on request. A vaccine mandate for students and employees will be implemented. Campus security will be available in cases where students refuse to comply with the current safety protocols.

The district and faculty association entered into the memorandum on Dec. 17. The agreement will expire at the end of the school year, on May 27.

Dr. Kathleen Rose, president and superintendent at Gavilan College, thanked the negotiating parties for their efforts in creating the memorandum, which was approved by the trustees with no objections.

Rose, who is retiring from her position July 1, said the college has had to make a lot of adjustments to make sure all operations are being covered.

“Because of the surge in cases on our campus,” she said, “we decided to go to a remote work schedule starting this week where employees have the opportunity to be on campus two days a week and work from home three days a week. As we move forward, we will continue to review this.”

Rose said she met last week with the department chairs to consider converting classes that had low enrollments into distance learning. Out of the 747 classes offered this semester, initially, 267 classes were to be hybrid, with 480 classes online. As a result of that meeting, it was decided to move an additional 57 classes online and cancel 27 classes entirely. Three new classes were added.

Rose said that the situation would be monitored daily and adjusted according to local positivity rates and CDC guidelines.

At the end of the meeting, Jonathan Brusco, who has served as trustee for Area 2 in Morgan Hill since 2012, announced his resignation, citing personal reasons. It will become effective as of the next board meeting in February.

Robert Eliason

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