Chancellor Eloy Oakley, head of the California Community Colleges, sent a message to CEOs on September 10 which included the following:
“I have spoken to several of you about plans you are considering for instruction in Spring ’21. I fully support that each college announce sooner rather than later that you will continue to be primarily online/remote for the remainder of the academic year. The more certainty we can provide our students and communities the better we will allow them to plan accordingly. This allows our faculty to be fully prepared for the remainder of the academic year. If things improve we can always bring students and staff back to campus. I can’t stress this enough, make the call soon. To reinforce this choice know that today Chancellor White announced that the CSU will continue to be online in the Spring and in my discussions with President Drake he is seriously contemplating doing the same. Once CSU and UC are committed in the Spring it will become increasing harder for our colleges to consider bringing non-CTE students back to campus.”
Chancellor Oakley’s message was aimed at colleges on the semester system, but the same need for certainty applies to us as well. If you attended my open office hour on September 9, you heard me say that we do need to plan on continuing to offer instruction and services remotely through Winter Quarter 2021. There will be extremely few exceptions to the work-from-home rule during this period, primarily involving allied health programs, child care, police, grounds, custodial, technology, business services, bookstore, and facilities staff coming to campus as needed. Students and staff will work onsite on a very limited basis with all safety precautions in place, including utilization of the contact tracing app that we are currently piloting. Plans for our Spring Quarter 2021 will likely be decided in January.
Striking a balance between the need for employee flexibility and services for students, the campuses will operate on a five-day schedule through Winter 2021, with the option for departments to operate on a four-day schedule based on approval from their administrator. Central Services departments will continue to operate on a four-day schedule, with the option to operate on a five-day schedule based on approval from their vice chancellor. Please be sure that your days and hours of service can be readily found and are clearly communicated.
It is impossible to adequately thank you for your resilience, creativity, and patience throughout the past six months. I reflect back on the inspiring year-end celebrations in June and am confident that we will continue to find ways to build and maintain a sense of community and connection for students and ourselves. Let’s be each other’s COVID Response Team!
Looking forward to seeing you for opening days.
I would like to provide clarification and an update on the planning we are doing for the November 1 deadline for budget reduction proposals currently in progress. First, any proposed changes would only be implemented if we could not start 21-22 with a balanced budget. This will depend on actual revenue for 20-21, state funding decisions for community colleges, and possible federal emergency assistance. In addition, the previously published timeline for decisions and employee notice of layoffs would only be implemented should your November 1 plan include the possible use of a filled position.
AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO FILLED POSITIONS, YOU ARE ENCOURAGED TO IDENTIFY ONE-TIME FUNDS TO REACH YOUR TARGET.
The November 1 plan was never the same as previous budget reductions where we had to remedy a structural deficit and eliminate ongoing costs that were typically filled positions. Because you will not be required to identify permanent reductions for a July 1, 2021 implementation, you need only identify the source of funds to be used if revenue fell short of projections for 21-22. For example, and as an illustration only, if an area with multiple accounts were asked to identify solutions for the shortfall, the November plan might include a combination of 19-20 carry forward, capital outlay, expense transfers to grants/categoricals, salary savings from unfilled positions or unpaid leaves, enterprise funds, etc. This will allow us to “buy time” in order to continue our planning processes for more permanent changes, should they ultimately be necessary.
AS OF SEPTEMBER 1, THE REVISED REDUCTION TARGET IS $9,000,000.
I am thrilled to report that revised projections and closing figures for 2019-2020 from Business Services instill hope for a smaller deficit. Vice Chancellor Cheu is preparing a slideshow showing the changes that have occurred over the past months. She will share this information at my office hour from 11:00-12:00 on Wednesday, September 9, and it will also be posted on my website.
I hope this update and clarification of what is being asked by November 1 assures you that we strive to protect our full and part-time employees because our people make this district the incredible organization that it is!
With sincerest thanks for your tireless dedication,
As our intrepid firefighters gain more control over the Bay Area’s fires and with the weather cooperating, the air is improving enough in Los Altos Hills for previously cleared individuals to return to Foothill as of Thursday, August 27. This reopening applies only to those essential workers whose duties require them to be on-site and a very limited number of students, faculty, and staff who are involved in allied health programs. Because the air in Cupertino does not appear to be improving, De Anza essential workers will continue working remotely until Monday, August 31.
I want to thank Chief Danny Acosta, Officer Jeff McCoy, and Chancellor’s Cabinet and their teams for all their work over the past week (including nights and weekends) to put together contingency plans to address fire emergencies, including the elaborate planning required to open campus parking lots to evacuating vehicles, relocation assistance, and firefighting staging. We even determined where a helicopter would land were that necessary!
While the smoke has begun to clear, there are challenges ahead for many colleagues whose lives have been upended by the fires, and the Foothill-De Anza family is rallying. The colleges and Central Services are seeking information about who has been affected to determine what we can do to help. To date, these funds have been established:
Karen has written about her harrowing escape, the fire’s destruction of her canyon community and her gratitude.
https://www.gofundme.com/f/karen-smith-lost-her-cabin-to-czu-wildfire - recently set up by Karen
President Holmes would like to tailor assistance to individual needs because some have been non-financial such as housing or animal care. Please send requests to email@example.com.
https://www.gofundme.com/f/karen-villlaba-was-affected-by-the-wildfire - sponsored by the CDC at De Anza
If you have been evacuated and need assistance, or know of a Central Services colleague who does, please contact Monica Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Senate has limited funds available and will do its best to help. To support this effort, click HERE for a classified senate payroll deduction form.
During this time of upheaval, if you have fire- or health-related circumstances that affect your ability to work – for example, having to evacuate or caring for someone who is sick or affected by the fires – please let your supervisor know the particulars of your situation. Some people may need to set up remote work stations in new locations and others may need to take leave. The district will be as flexible as possible in meeting these needs.
Let me conclude by saying how proud I am of the generosity and kindness that have already been demonstrated by our Foothill-De Anza family. Crises are said to bring out the best and worst in people and this latest has certainly brought out the best in all of you.
With deepest appreciation,
Thank you for all your good work serving nearly 21,000 students during Summer 2020, resulting in an increase of more than 3% full-time equivalent students (FTES) over last year! For the past month, I have delighted in stories from parents and grandparents praising the quality of instruction at Foothill and De Anza and marveling at how much more their loved ones enjoyed their experiences with you in comparison to a number of universities. Bravi, one and all!
Given that Santa Clara County continues to be on California’s COVID watch list, the colleges and district offices will remain closed through January 3, 2021. This means we will continue offering services remotely. There will be extremely few exceptions to the work-from-home rule during this period, primarily involving police, grounds, custodial, technology, business services, bookstore, and facilities staff who will work onsite on a very limited basis with all safety precautions in place. Please join me in thanking all our colleagues who provide these services that are so critical to the continuity of our educational mission.
The decision to continue remote operations is driven by our desire to protect the health of students, faculty, and staff. The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department has not yet cleared colleges and universities to reopen, and the attached graph leads us to proceed with an abundance of caution.