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Santa Rosa Junior College to remain ‘largely remote’ in fall

‘'It is clear to me that a gradual transition to reopening SRJC will allow us to begin to provide more on-site offerings without rushing to reopen too soon,’ stated President Frank Chong in an announcement.|

Santa Rosa Junior College officials announced last week that the college will continue to provide “largely remote” instructions in fall 2021, while adding additional partially in-person courses. SRJC President Frank Chong said that fully in-person courses will be added in the college’s 103rd academic year when “safely possible given district constraints on human, financial and facilities resources.”

SRJC’s Santa Rosa and Petaluma campuses serve approximately 22,000 students, including hundreds from Sonoma Valley. SRJC has 283 full-time faculty and about 1,000 part-time instructors.

Its classes were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 12, 2020 and in-person instruction has not yet resumed..

Chong announced on April 8 that he is working with his leadership team on the creation of a transition plan, which will clearly outline a district plan for a “safe, staged reopening” for SRJC, and that he “hopes to share that document soon.“

Student services will also continue to operate in a largely remote format in fall 2021.

Chong said that the college will use criteria negotiated between SRJC’s All Faculty Association and the district for fall 2021 to develop a prioritized list of courses for fall 2021 that will be partially in-person.

He also stated that the college will not hold any mass gatherings on campus during this time, in accordance with health department recommendations.

“While I do not make these decisions lightly, it is clear to me that a gradual transition to reopening SRJC will allow us to begin to provide more on-site offerings without rushing to reopen too soon,” stated Chong in the announcement. “The safety of our students, employees and community members remains the top priority at SRJC and while we look forward to the day when we can come together again, we will not risk the health and wellness of our community to do so.”

Jeff Kunde, the Sonoma Valley representative on the Santa Rosa Junior College board of trustees, said that while he agreed with the college’s decision to remain remote, he felt the wording of the announcement “was not quite right.“

“The college is already making more in-person classes available gradually,” he said. “It’s my understanding that more will be added when we can, based on (health code) compliance.”

Sonoma Valley High School graduate Mickey Abate is in her second year of full-time studies at SRJC and she approves of the decision.

"For students whose lives have been complicated by COVID 19, I feel like it’s a good step to start transitioning to in-person classes,“ she said. ”I wouldn’t be 100 percent comfortable going back to fully in person by fall, so I like the decision that was made, and I am not even in an at-risk category. My only qualm is that the JC could stand to give more leeway for students who are struggling with the online format.“

SVHS graduate and current SRJC student Ty Brenninger was disappointed by the news and said he’s frustrated that the decision is being announced so early.

“The fall semester is so far away and so much can change during this time that I don’t understand why they made the (remote) decision so early,” said Brenninger. ”Also they said they are adding some in-person classes but it has all just been so vague. How many are they adding?“

The University of California system announced on Jan. 11 that it is planning for a return to primarily in-person instruction systemwide starting fall 2021.

The California State University (CSU) system ​​​​announced in Dec. 2020 that it is planning for an anticipated return to delivering courses primarily in-person starting with the fall 2021 term.

Email Lorna at lorna.sheridan@sonomanews.com.

In light of the current state of the coronavirus pandemic in Sonoma County, #SRJC will continue to operate the...

Posted by Santa Rosa Junior College onThursday, April 8, 2021

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