October 4, 2022

Dear SOCCCD Employees,

Thank you for your continued support and cooperation throughout the pandemic as we worked together to prioritize the health and safety of our college and district community. While we continue to do so, new data and changes to public health guidelines have prompted the District to revisit our COVID-19 requirements. In addition to seeing a continued decline in COVID-19 case rates in our region, we are observing a shift in strategy among public health authorities which emphasizes individual responsibility over some of the prevention strategies adopted throughout the pandemic. As such, the District is making changes to the following student and employee COVID-19 mandates effective immediately:

Students and Employees:

Weekly COVID-19 testing for exempt students and employees will no longer be required. The removal is based on recent data that indicates that weekly testing of unvaccinated groups is no longer slowing the spread of COVID-19 as it did earlier in the pandemic due to the more infectious Omicron variants.

Students:

The COVID-19 vaccination for students attending in-person classes will no longer be required. The case for continuing the vaccine mandate for students has gotten much weaker, especially when balancing issues of equitable access. We compromised open access when weighing the benefits of vaccination in preventing transmission on our campus at the peak of the pandemic, but the balance has shifted with the decline of efficacy for full vaccination. 

The COVID-19 vaccination requirement for employees remains in place.

The issue of balancing health and safety against access does not exist for employees, where we don’t have an access issue. Therefore, the vaccination mandate remains in place for employees. Additionally, while weekly COVID-19 testing for exempt employees is no longer required, all of us should avail ourselves of widely available testing options when symptoms arise and avoid exposing others. Three free, at-home COVID-19 test kits are available for all employees at the Student Health Centers on both campuses and can be picked up starting today. Your health and safety remain a top priority and thus, our efforts to monitor data and guidelines from public health authorities will continue. Given the prevalence of COVID-19 variants, our guidelines are subject to change in the future. Please remember to refer to the Return to Work Guidelines for COVID-19 related updates and information.

I appreciate our continued partnership in maintaining a healthy environment for all. Be well.

signature Julianna Barnes

Dr. Julianna M. Barnes
Chancellor