Employees asked to work remotely over spring break

By Isis Piccillo, Editor in Chief

All four campuses and the district office of the Peralta Community College District (PCCD) will close starting Saturday, March 14 until Saturday, March 21, according to an email from Chancellor Regina Stanback Stroud addressed to the Peralta community sent Friday, March 13. 

Although there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in PCCD, the high level of concern, as well as similar decisions from neighboring districts, prompted the closure, Stanback Stroud said.

Typically, although faculty and students are gone during spring break, classified staff and administrators remain on campuses and at the district. Some campuses had planned to offer limited hours of in-person services during the new spring break, but now all district and campus buildings will be closed.

Stanback Stroud’s email said that all employees, including student workers, are “asked to work remotely while the college campuses and district offices are closed.” All employees will maintain their schedules and be paid during the closure. 

“There are some jobs that cannot be done remotely. If this applies to you, please contact your manager promptly for guidance and instruction,” she said. 

Stanback Stroud’s email also said that student services will be available remotely (online or via telephone) during the campus closures, but at the time of this report, it is unclear how and when students can access these services.

According to a press release dated March 13, the California Community College State Chancellor’s office reports that more than 58 out of the state’s 115 community colleges have already transitioned to or are planning to transition to “expanded delivery of online instruction in the coming days.” The press release also states that other colleges are utilizing spring breaks to make the transition.

In an emergency meeting March 11, the Board of Trustees voted to move up spring break to next week, March 16 to 21. The break had previously been scheduled for April. 

Face-to-face classes were already cancelled this week in an effort to prepare faculty for a potential shift to distance instruction and also encourage social distancing, Stanback Stroud explained to trustees during the emergency Board of Trustees meeting March 11.

Social distancing is the practice of slowing or stopping spread of infectious disease by limiting interaction between people who don’t usually come in contact with each other. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) website explains social distancing as “creation of physical space between individuals who may spread certain infectious disease.”