San Mateo County’s community colleges won’t reopen until January 2022

John Pimentel is a trustee on the San Mateo County Community College District board.

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.


  1. Another example of why people are moving out of California in droves. In our State schools are fully open with no problems whatsoever. In a county with 174,000+ people, we had only 21 reported new cases yesterday. Lockdowns are destroying an entire generation. Look at the number of suicides you are experiencing.

  2. I think this is the right decision. These are college students who are more likely to successfully navigate online classes than children. Plus, if the faculty said they prefer one more semester online to feel safe, it’s actually great that the board and admin listened to them!

  3. It must be tough to be a faculty member there. They’ve got to actually for work? Where’s my union shop steward? I’m filing a grievance!

  4. Are all of the faculty given options?
    Movie theaters, barber shops, and restaurants are all open now. It seems like only a few of the faculty decide for all of them. Vaccines are becoming available, the County is moving into the right direction, and i am in agreement with Spokesman Pimentell because it does seem like a premature decision. Why would these large campuses remain closed while many others are opening? Faculty should be allowed options with or without students present to work from home, work from campus or a modification of both, doesn’t that sound reasonable? Do these faculty members make that much money that they all have smart classrooms in their houses? if so, it must be nice!

    • 2 years off my azz! Transitioning from face to face instruction to online instruction is a MAJOR undertaking in which faculty members are putting more hours per week than our already full-loads in a face to face instructions.
      Per making decisions “early” planning and implementation for semesters begin a year in advance so that in 6 months permanent schedules are released for students to enroll in courses ahead of the first day of classes.
      Input from the faculty regarding preferences for the summer and fall were sent via Email to all faculty. It was not until last week teachers were eligible for the vaccine yet does not account as to when our student population would be eligible for vaccines. If we decided to bring everyone back in the fall then there is another outbreak the chaos to send everyone home and go back to online teaching would be a reckless decision on behalf of the District.

  5. 2022? Really?

    Sure seems like the new board has straightened out things! Yeah, give the faculty two years off. Glad there’s some adult supervision there.

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