President’s Message: Updated Southwestern College Health Guidelines

Graphic that says "Dr. Mark Sanchez. President's Message."

Dear Southwestern College Community,

It has been more than 14 months since Southwestern College transitioned to online learning, services, and remote work for many of our employees. Southwestern College continues to be unwavering in its commitment to protect our students and employees against COVID-19 and continue to meet Southwestern College’s mission in educating our community. I am immensely proud to have joined a college that cares so deeply about its community.

Now, as the state of California has lifted most of its pandemic restrictions and South County continues to be a leader in vaccination rates, we are excited to begin our transition back to in-person services and classes and welcome back our students. With such incredible strides in vaccination rates, Southwestern College’s leadership team has updated our fall 2021 semester health guidelines:

  • Vaccines are strongly recommended for Southwestern College students, employees and visitors, however, will no longer be required.
  • The college is required to document the vaccination status of all employees and will be communicating the process to employees directly.
  • Masks will only be required for unvaccinated individuals.
  • There will no longer be daily screenings conducted on campus. Students and employees will be asked to self-screen for symptoms prior to coming to campus. Anyone experiencing symptoms should stay home and call their medical provider for more instructions.  This information will be highlighted through a comprehensive communication plan.
  • Welcome tables will be positioned across campuses to answer questions, provide assistance, provide masks for those needing them, and share reminders on how to keep yourself and others healthy and safe.

These new health guidelines will also be implemented to our current in-person summer session classes at our higher education centers starting today.

With these new health updates, I’m excited to say that for the fall semester, about 25 percent of our classes will be held in person and all campuses will offer walk-up, in-person student services. I am also very excited about the possibility of expanding our second eight-week fast track session with more in-person classes.

In the five months I have served as superintendent/president, I have been inspired by the passion our students have expressed about coming back to our campuses and by the consideration and care our employees have taken to do this in the safest ways possible.

Getting vaccinated is still the best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 and its variants. The vaccine is free and effective and available through your health insurance provider or through the county to everyone, with no appointments necessary. I strongly encourage all members of the campus community to get vaccinated and find more information at or by calling 211.

At Southwestern College, we must continue to serve our students with the resources they need to achieve their goals. During the height of the pandemic, we supported them by providing access to technology, food distributions and emergency grants. Now, it is paramount to reopen our campuses to help the students who have struggled with online learning and virtual services and to support people who are looking for new educational opportunities to better their lives.

In solidarity,

Mark Sanchez, Ed.D.
Southwestern College
900 Otay Lakes Road
Chula Vista, CA 91910