BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to reopen schools by March 31, but that doesn’t apply to community colleges in San Mateo County, whose board has decided to keep classrooms closed until January.
The proposal by Chancellor Mike Claire didn’t draw much criticism at last Wednesday’s board meeting, though Trustee John Pimentel said he wanted to wait hold off on finalizing the summer and fall schedule until the trend in Covid cases is clear.
“It seems premature to me to make a statement that we will stay 100% online in the fall,” said Pimentel. “What we are all reading is that numbers are down and we have two, now three, vaccines that … are rolling pretty good now.”
Stanford announced Thursday that it was bringing back juniors and seniors on March 29 after seeing Covid cases decrease.
“Modeling of infections and hospitalizations by experts in our Stanford School of Medicine suggests that the trajectory of Covid-19 this spring is likely to be manageable,” said Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Provost Persis Drell in a letter to students and faculty.
And yesterday, Gov. Newsom and legislative leaders agreed on a $6.2 billion plan to pay schools to reopen by the end of the month.
“You can’t reopen your economy unless you get your schools reopened for in-person instruction,” said Newsom, who announced the deal with state Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon at an elementary school in the Elk Grove Unified School District just south of Sacramento.
But at San Mateo County’s three community colleges — Canada, College of San Mateo and Skyline — the faculty said in a poll they wanted more time before returning to school. The poll didn’t say when the 550 facility members felt they should return to their jobs.
Jeremy Wallace, an English professor at College of San Mateo, told the board last week that if classes remain online, they won’t have to move students from in-person learning to remote learning if Covid cases begin to increase again.
Chancellor Claire, borrowing an analogy Newsom has made, likened reopening the district’s campuses to a dimmer switch rather than a traditional light switch.
The Foothill-De Anza Community College District will keep most of its students remote and off-campus through the fall. Currently, a few students through the district’s dental and nursing programs have been meeting in reduced capacities for in-person training and lessons.