Dear Campus Community,
As we enter our 14th week of operating and providing instruction remotely, I continue to be in awe of the dedication of our faculty, classified staff and management professionals. This has been a tough time of transition for so many of us due to the COVID-19 pandemic, yet we have risen to the occasion to support our students’ needs and continue our mission to deliver educational opportunities to our community.
We understand that many businesses and K-12 schools have been given guidance to reopen, and that causes many in our campus community to wonder if our plan to conduct the fall semester through remote and distance learning still stands. The answer is yes. The fall semester will continue to be delivered online and through distance learning, with very few exceptions. As of now, colleges and universities are not allowed to open according to state and county public health orders.
College leadership meets frequently to evaluate the dynamic reopening guidelines that our communities receive from the state and our local county health departments. Our college and your leadership remain committed to our guiding principles for decision-making:
- Student health, well-being and educational success, and
- Employee physical and financial health and well-being
As we have said before, Southwestern College is such a unique educational institution and our reopening must be unique as well. We have campuses throughout the South County, we have students and employees from throughout the region and across the border and we have community programs that bring hundreds of visitors to our campuses each semester.
These are all the people we will consider as we establish our own unique reopening and long-term plans that outline when we can offer in-person classes and programs again, how we will let our employees return to work safely and how we will let the community access our facilities.
As always, throughout this entire pandemic, our priority has been the health and safety of our students, employees and community members. For now, we will outline our current plans for the fall semester. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we learn to continue our mission under these extraordinary circumstances.
Southwestern College reaffirms its decisions to conduct the fall 2020 semester through distance, online and remote instruction with very few exceptions, such as our public safety programs at the Higher Education Center at Otay Mesa and other specialty programs.
We know that many students find online learning intimidating and challenging. We encourage students to use the many resources available to them, such as the Online Learning Center, which gives workshops, training and support to our online students. The Academic Success Center has also been unwavering in their support of students through online tutoring.
Southwestern College will deliver the entire fall 2020 semester online, and we will not shift to face-to-face instruction and meetings, even if state and local health departments give guidelines to reopen colleges and universities. Another mid-semester transition would be too difficult on our faculty and our students.
Any new local developments in COVID-19, including relaxation of social distancing or a second wave in positive cases, will be used to determine our spring semester instruction. As of now, however, no determination has been made about the spring semester.
Southwestern College Athletics gives so much pride to our college and community, unfortunately, due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in South County we will not have any contact sports in the fall 2020 semester at Southwestern College.
As a board member of the California Community College Athletic Association, I am also eagerly awaiting the association’s July 17 decision for all community college athletic programs. However, we decided to make our own decision sooner and defer our fall contact sports to the spring 2021 semester to give coaches and student-athletes more time to plan.
Spring 2021 is still an option for Jaguar Athletics and we are encouraging coaches and students to focus the fall semester on their training and academics. Deferring to the spring 2021 semester will allow Southwestern College and health professionals to be better prepared to take the needed steps to keep our student-athletes, coaches and staff safe and healthy.
Health First Fitness Club
Southwestern College is an integral resource for our community. Our campus hosts community events and training year-round and our Health First Fitness Center has become a treasure used by many. We value the trust our community has in us, and we intend to honor that by ensuring that our facilities do not open before it is safe to do so.
Although the recent county order allows for the reopening of gyms, the Health First Fitness Club is considered a college facility and will remain closed until further notice. We will be reviewing and analyzing all the impacts of this over the next two months.
As always, we will work to provide a transparent process of our plans to reopen and keep our students, employees and community members informed of our decisions.
I personally look forward to the day when we can all come together again. Until then, stay safe and stay healthy.
Kindred Murillo, Ed.D.