Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Health

San Diego County Community Colleges Begin Classes With COVID-19 Protocols

The entrance of the San Diego City College campus is shown on May 4, 2020.
Zoë Meyers
The entrance of the San Diego City College campus is shown on May 4, 2020.

Fall classes began Monday for 60,000 students enrolled in the San Diego Community College District and thousands more at Southwestern College.

Many students will return to the classroom as SDCCD's colleges — City, Mesa, Miramar, and the College of Continuing Education — offer more in-person classes to complement a considerable schedule of online classes.

The district hopes to transition back to normal in-person operations by the spring 2022 semester if the health situation improves.

Registration is still open. For students who need more flexibility, many classes have late start dates throughout the term. Most students do not pay tuition due to state and federal financial aid and more than 4,000 first-time college students are expected to enroll this fall in the tuition-free San Diego Promise program, which is continuing to accept applications from first-time students.

"Pursuing higher education and workforce training at the SDCCD is among the most affordable in the nation and the fastest way to start or advance your career in the highly competitive San Diego region," said SDCCD Chancellor Carlos O. Turner Cortez. "We are thrilled to welcome many students back to our campuses following a tough pandemic year."

While most courses remain fully online, about 25% of classes will be held in person, including many labs with hard-to-transition curricula -- welding, automotive, healthcare and culinary arts. COVID-19 protocols are being enforced, with all students and employees on campus required to wear masks when indoors. Students taking in-person classes will also be required to provide proof they have been vaccinated or have an approved medical clearance.

Southwestern College is following similar protocols, with a quarter of classes offered in person and all on-campus centers and administrative offices open for students.

Four campuses, excluding the campus in San Ysidro, will have a limited selection of in-person classes available, including labs, exercise science and performing arts courses. The majority of classes available on all campuses will be offered online.

All students, employees and visitors who are accessing a Southwestern College campus or facility are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID- 19. Students must upload their vaccine card through their student portal before classes begin. Those who show such proof will receive a $100 gift card to the Southwestern College campus bookstore.

"Over the past year, everyone associated with Southwestern College has been nothing short of heroic," said President/Superintendent Mark Sanchez. "We want to welcome them back to campus slowly, carefully and thoughtfully. Safety is our top priority and we hope to eventually fully reopen and be the incubator of learning and fun that we are. Truly, we are excited to welcome those who will be back."

SWC students and staff who are not vaccinated will have the opportunity to receive the Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson shots on campus this semester. Beginning Monday, San Ysidro Health will offer Southwestern College students both COVID-19 vaccines and personal protective equipment, including face masks.