The health and welfare of our students, faculty and staff are top priorities of administrators and the Board of Trustees of the Palomar Community College District. While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Palomar College, there are 5 presumptive positive cases within San Diego County. These cases are currently being analyzed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The risk to our campus remains low at this time and it is important that a focus remain on maintaining personal hygiene and if students, faculty and staff are feeling ill, they should stay home.
The Emergency Operations Center is engaged and planning is occurring daily to prepare for any closure that may be required in the future. The Teams are working on increasing the availability of hand sanitizer and appropriate cleansing wipes for high traffic areas such as computer labs and tutoring centers.
Our goal is to minimize and mitigate opportunities for exposure as much as possible. In abundance of caution the following mandates are now in place at Palomar College.
Most Face-To-Face Classes Will Be Taught Using an Alternate Method of Delivery
Last evening, in collaboration with our Faculty Senate President, we filed the required paperwork with the Chancellor’s Office so that we can continue to serve our students in an environment that reduces the spread of COVID-19. This morning we received approval from the Chancellor’s Office. Effective March 30, 2020, most of our face-to-face classes will be taught using an alternative method of instruction, e.g., online, by conference call, or by email. Faculty will be asked to announce this information to their students during the week of March 16 or by Palomar email. Faculty will need to determine the best approach in addressing lab, clinical, and internship requirements as these may need to continue with limited face-to-face interactions. Current Disability Resource Center (DRC) students or a student who anticipates requiring specific accommodations to attend class in another format (e.g., online, conference call, phone, or email), will work directly with the DRC to address their needs. A TeachAnywhere website containing a variety of resources is available to faculty and staff. To prepare for this change, Palomar College faculty who teach face-to-face courses, will be provided two full days on March 18 and March 19 to prepare. Face-to-face classes taught on these two days will not be held.
Low-Cost Internet Plan and Emergency Grants
We are aware that some of our students may not have the appropriate access to participate in class from their home. Based on the research conducted by our Foundation, we identified a low cost $10/month, free installation internet plan from AT&T. The plan is available for people with one member in the household using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Details are available here. The Foundation is accepting emergency grant applications from students who need assistance with technology, internet access, work-gap challenges or essential needs. Grants range from $100-$250 and the application is available on the Foundation website.
Modified Staffing Model
Due to the change in face-to-face course delivery, the District will be moving to a modified staffing model as well. Our Human Resource Services colleagues will be working collaboratively with constituent groups to formalize the model.
Palomar College Business Related Travel
To ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff, effective immediately, all business travel (in California, out-of-state, and international) for students and employees is suspended until further notice.
With spring break quickly approaching, the College has asked all students, faculty, and staff to consult the websites of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. State Department in order to make informed decisions about travel.
Large Public Gatherings
Effective March 16, 2020, events scheduled at the Main Campus in San Marcos and at our Education Centers in Escondido, Rancho Bernardo and Fallbrook, with more than 100 people in attendance are canceled until further notice. For events with less than 100 people, event organizers are required to implement social distancing of 6 feet per person. (source: Public Gatherings Policy – Governor Newsom)
A decision regarding commencement on May 22 is pending. Athletic events will continue as scheduled, however no spectators will be allowed into the facility/field.