COVID-19 and MPX do not Deter City College from Reopening Campus to In-Person Classes

By: Ellen Yoshitsugu

ellenyoshi@gmail.com

 

 

As City College prepared for the start of fall classes, faculty and community members received welcome back emails from the chancellor that made clear that COVID-19 precautions were still in effect.

 

Masks are required when indoors, vaccination or proof of exemption is required for in-person classes or services, and staff “must report all positive cases.” There is more information on the college’s “COVID-19 Updates” webpage. COVID-19 case rates at City College are reported here.

 

Adapted from SFDPH, Aug 25, 2022. Infographic by JT Wildfeuer.

In addition, all buildings were to be open and operational, face-to-face support services were to be available onsite, physical distancing was not required but encouraged when possible, and building ventilation systems were up-to-date with COVID standards, as described in the CCSF Campus Reopening Plan for fall 2022.

 

Juan Fernandez, Queer Resource Center coordinator, said that students were excited to be back in person and were being very responsible about mask wearing.  Jordan Langdon, a Child Development major, said they felt safe because “they’re doing a lot, like they have windows open, and dots where to stand, and we wiped down the tables after class.”

 

But, as of August 1st, City College faces a second public health emergency, MPX, (monkeypox).

 

At an August 11 special meeting of the City College Board of Trustees on MPX, Chancellor Martin presented the college’s policy on communicable diseases. Basically, the Student Health Services will update the chancellor on public health guidelines from the San Francisco and California Departments of Public Health (SFDPH and CDPH), and will also take steps to implement those guidelines.Trustee Aliya Chisti asked about outreach to the student population, noting that “anyone can get MPX,” and suggested that a notice about MPX be added to the City College opening page. Martin agreed.

 

City College’s Queer Resource Center hosted a virtual MPX educational event on Aug. 25. Ari Davila-Valente from SFDPH presented details on cases, symptoms, risk, how to keep safe, and how MPX is spread. 

 

SFDPH’s goal was to contain the virus before it spreads widely.  Although currently in California MPX is only spreading in Los Angeles and San Francisco among men who who have sex with men, it is not exclusively a sexually transmitted infection, and has the potential to spread through other types of interactions.   

 

Fernandez said that “we don’t want to define any kind of social identity, sexual identity or gender identity as a vector for disease.”   

Healthcare providers, persons manning on-site help desks, custodians and other classified employees represented by SEIU 1021 were providing much of the preparation for campus reopening.  Unfortunately, City College was short staffed due to last January’s classified layoffs, recent retirements and many unfilled staff positions.

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