Delta College is mandating all students and staff must be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the return to in-person learning with the start of the Fall Semester on Aug. 28.
The Delta College trustees on a 6-1 vote Tuesday — with student representative Lance Elliott voting “no” and trustee Elizabeth Blanchard absent — imposed the vaccine mandate. The only exceptions carved out are for those with medical issues that prevent them from being vaccinated.
The board’s mandatory vaccination decision differs from recommendations The Return to Campus (RTC) subcommittee and the Emergency Response Team (ERT) made.
Those recommendations were:
*mandating vaccines — but only after they had been fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration— for employees subject to medical and possible religious exemptions.
*no mandatory vaccinations for students at this time, but consider further recommendations from student cohort programs such as POST, Nursing, and Athletics.
Among other recommendations for the fall semester:
*use of online support tools such as LiveChat and Virtual Counter drop in appointments will continue
*student activities, clubs, and learning communities will open based on specific plans for each area
*the student Food Pantry will be reopened
*Student Activities and Campus Life will resume based on protocols from public health and the Return to Campus recommendations
*private offices may be used without prior approval but not for meeting with students
*designated rooms will be established for counselor-student sessions
*free technology loan program for students will continue in the Fall and technology and access will be improved in Library and other shared student spaces
*mental health support for students and employees will continue
*community Medical Center will be open 5 days a week to encourage vaccinations
The RTC and ERT both voted to recommend that:
*the District follows the state guidelines of eliminating the social distancing requirements on campus including indoors and in classrooms.
*Delta follow all CalOSHA guidelines – most recently amended requiring that only employees who are unvaccinated wear N95 masks, and all fully vaccinated employees are not required to wear masks.
*that the District no longer mandates masks for students and visitors, unless they self-identify as unvaccinated.
*the District follows the state public health guidelines and no longer continues the daily temperature and health screening questions.
Delta College joined the University of California system in implemented a vaccination mandate.
Previously the UC system in April said they would not require vaccinations unless the Food and Drug Administration fully approved at least one of the three vaccines now being administered under emergency authorization. Earlier this month the UC system changed its position and mandated COVID-19 vaccinations for more than 280,000 students plus 270,000 in faculty and staff.
UC has already said it would exempt students from the vaccination requirement if they have medical or religious reasons. Delta College trustees in their directive Tuesday did not allow for religious exemptions to the vaccination mandate.
California State University officials have said they are still planning to wait for full FDA approval before mandating COVID vaccinations. That, however, could change. It’s not clear when the FDA will give full approval.
Delta College retention rates dropped last year due to COVID-19. For those students not in special programs such as CalWORKS, the Fall 2020 retention rate was 86 percent compared to 92 percent for Fall 2019. The Fall 2020 student count of those not in any special programs was 13,065 compared to 14,997 a year earlier.
Duplicated enrollments show there were 31,910 in person only students in Fall 2019 compared to 1,129 for Fall 2020. Online learning plus had 16,609 in Fall 2019 and 49,915 in Fall 2020. There were 7, 272 hybrid students in Fall 2019 and 2,120 in Fall 2020.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org